Forming the passive voice with progressive tenses in Spanish
The passive voice in Spanish can be used in all tenses, simple tenses, compound tenses and also progressive tenses.
Let's see some sentences where the passive voice is used with progressive tenses:
Mi amigo está siendo atacado ahora mismo.My friend is being attacked right now.
Los libros estaban siendo colocados en las estanterías.The books were being placed on the shelves.
Yo estuve siendo atendida durante horas por una dependienta muy simpática.I was being served for hours by a very friendly shop assistant.
Miguel ha estado siendo interrogado por la policía.Miguel has been interrogated by the police. [lit: has been being interrogated]
Ella había estado siendo perseguida por un ex novio.She had been followed by an ex boyfriend. [lit: had been being followed]
Mi vestido estará siendo diseñado por Victorio y Lucchino.My dress will be being designed by Victorio and Lucchino.
As you can see, in progressive tenses we will always find verb estar followed by a present participle.
Estar will be conjugated in the tense needed and will be followed by "siendo".
Estar (conjugated) + siendo + past participle
Let's see the steps required to turn an active sentence in a progressive tense into its passive equivalent:
El perro está observando al gato.
(active-present progressive tense) →
El gato está siendo observado por el perro.The cat is being observed by the dog.
1. The object from the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. (El gato)
2. Place "siendo" straight after estar. (está siendo)
3. Use the past participle form of the present participle in the active sentence. (observando → observado) The past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject. (gato/observado)
4. Use "por" to make the subject from the active sentence the agent (the sujeto agente). (por el perro)
El perro estaba observando al gato. (active - imperfect progressive tense) →
El gato estaba siendo observado por el perro.The cat was being observed by the dog.
El perro estará observando al gato. (active - future progressive tense) →
El gato estará siendo observado por el perro.The cat will be [being] observed by the dog.
El perro ha estado observando al gato. (active - present perfect progressive tense) →
El gato ha estado siendo observado por el perro.The cat has been [being] observed by the dog.
El perro estaría observando al gato. (active - conditional progressive tense) →
El gato estaría siendo observado por el perro.The cat would be observed by the dog. [lit: would be being observed]
Bear in mind that not all progressive perfect tenses translate literally to English.
Las fresas habían estado siendo recolectadas.
The strawberries had been being collected.
Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »