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Hey guys. I'm confused with the grammar of "L'Avare a été écrit par Molière.“

Is the grammar "a été écrit" a type of passé composé? How do you say it in English? Has been written? Was written? I'm learning the passive tone in French, and I'm so confused with the grammar how that it has been reversed. Merci beaucoup si vous pouvez m'aider!

July 29, 2017



Voix active / Passé composé : Molière a écrit l'Avare. (he wrote)

Voix passive / Passé composé passif : L'Avare a été écrit par Molière (it was written by)


Yes, and if we mention when it was written, in very formal writing we get:

Passé simple actif: 'Molière écrivit L'Avare en 1668.'

Passé simple passif: 'L'Avare fut écrit par Molière en 1668.'

In informal speech and writing, though, we will keep the same tenses as in Pierre's examples, because the passé simple sounds literary.


key points concerning the passive voice:

Point 1
the action described by the verb is being done to the subject by an agent

Point 2
the subject is usually introduced by the prepositions par or de

Point 3
The passive voice is formed by conjugation of être + past participle and the past participle has to agree with the subject in gender and number.

Point 4
To use the passive voice in other tenses just conjugate être accordingly.


Le livre est écrit par Alice. The book is written by Alice
La vaisselle est faite par Alice. The dishes are done by Alice
Les enfants sont nourris par leur père The children are fed by their father.
Le journal est lu par un large public. The newspaper is read by a wide audience.
Le journal était lu par mon ami. the newspaper was read by my friend
Ce livre a été écrit par un enfant. This book was written by a child.
La tarte est faite par Anne. The pie is made by Anne
La tarte a été faite par Anne. The pie was made by Anne
La tarte était faite par Anne. The pie was being made by Anne
La tarte sera faite par Anne. The pie will be made by Anne
Je veux que la tarte soit faite par Anne. I want the pie to be made by Anne.


It is the past tense of the passive, using the passe compose (sorry no accents available) of etre as the auxiliary.

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