Their students don't break the window.

I just tried almost everything but it still doesn't make sense.

  • 2
    "The window isn't broken by their students". Grammatical, but nonsense.
    – BillJ
    Oct 25, 2020 at 17:32
  • Both variants would need very contrived context to make them sound reasonable. Oct 25, 2020 at 17:43
  • "I just tried almost everything " you should give some examples of what you have tried.
    – James K
    Oct 25, 2020 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


I assume the sentence is "Their students do not break the window."

If that's the case, the closest you can get to the passive voice form of this sentence would be "The window is not broken by their students." (switch the positions of subject and object and use the past participle form of the verb)

As you can see, this form of the sentence is extremely awkward, which is why passive voice is usually not used in writing, unless it is absolutely necessary or if it has stylistic effect.

Furthermore, the intended meaning of the two differs slightly. The original sentence in the active voice simply states that the students don't break a specific window. However, the passive voice form implies that the window is already broken, and it sounds like you are trying to explain that the students are not responsible.

  • There's no reason not to use the contraction; The window isn't broken by their students is equally grammatical, equally passive, and equally awkward. And makes equally little sense. Saying do not instead of don't has the effect of raising the formality register, which simply makes such a silly sentence as the example sound even sillier. Oct 25, 2020 at 17:26
  • I got rid of the contraction so that the positioning of words like "not" during the transformation from active to passive is clearer for the reader.
    – General Poxter
    Oct 25, 2020 at 17:28
  • That doesn't make it clearer for the reader. There are a lot of ways to do passive, and a lot of reasons. And a vast amount of nonsense, specifically about the passive construction. Oct 25, 2020 at 17:32

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