We use the passive voice when we want to put the emphasis on the person or thing receiving the action or on the action itself.
For example, instead of saying “il cane ha mangiato la gallina” (the dog ate the hen) we can turn the sentence around by saying “la gallina è stata mangiata dal cane” (the hen was eaten by the dog).
Note how in the second example, the passive voice places the emphasis on la gallina (the hen).
We also use the passive voice when we don’t know who is responsible for an action, as in “la scuola è stata costruita nel 1920” (the school was built in 1920).
In this post, you’re going to learn how we can also form the passive voice with the verb venire.
Passive voice with essere
To form the passive voice in Italian, we use the verb essere plus the past participle of the main verb, as in the examples below:
Il pranzo è servito alle 12.
Lunch is served at 12.
Questi palazzi sono stati costruiti negli anni 80.
These buildings were built in the 80s.
If we want to specify who something is done by, the past participle is followed by da (by) or its contractions (dal, dalla, etc.).
Also, since we use the verb essere to form the passive voice, the past participle has to agree in gender and number with the subject.
So, the past participle will en in -o, -a, -i, or -e depending on whether the subject is masculine or feminine, and singular or plural.
Passive voice with venire
In Italian, interestingly, we can also use the verb venire (to come) instead of essere to form a passive sentence in the imperfect, present, or future tense.
We use the verb venire to make the sentence slightly more formal, for example in the case of rules, procedures, or court orders.
In this case, too, the past participle has to agree in gender and number with the subject of the sentence.
Here’s an example:
La bambina verrà affidata alla nonna.
The girl will be placed in the care of her grandmother.
Conjugation of the verb venire
The verb venire is irregular.
Let’s see (or review) the conjugation of the verb venire in the imperfect, present, and future tenses.
Here’s the conjugation of the verb venire in the imperfect:
- Io venivo, tu venivi, lui/lei veniva, noi venivamo, voi venivate, loro venivano.
Here’s the conjugation of venire in the present tense:
- Io vengo, tu vieni, lui/lei viene, noi veniamo, voi venite, loro vengono.
And here’s the verb venire in the future tense:
- Io verrò, tu verrai, lui/lei verrà, noi verremo, voi verrete, loro verranno.
Now you’re ready to see some more examples of the passive voice with the verb venire.
Passive voice with venire: examples
La cena viene servita alle 20.
Dinner is served at 8 pm.
Le pulizie vengono fatte di mattina.
The cleaning is done in the morning.
Il nuovo libro di Mario verrà pubblicato il mese prossimo.
Mario’s new book will be published next month.
I migliori studenti verranno premiati dal preside.
The best students will be rewarded by the principal.
In passato gli studenti che si comportavano male venivano picchiati.
In the past students who behaved badly were beaten.
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