In below sentence it is understood that Actions of Cleaning and arresting are already happened.

If I want to report below activities to someone else should I use simple present passive or Simple past passive?


Simple Present Passive Car is Cleaned by Jhon. Jhon is arrested by Police.


Simple Past Passive Car was cleaned by John. John was arrested by Police.

  • Are you asking "How would I tell an acquaintance that the car was cleaned two hours ago by John?" and "How would I tell an acquaintance that John was arrested by the police two hours ago?"
    – TimR
    Oct 13, 2014 at 11:09
  • I think this is going to be a good question, but it's a little hard to understand right now. If we understand that the arresting and the cleaning happened, we'd say "The car was cleaned by John, and John was arrested by the police."
    – hunter
    Oct 13, 2014 at 11:11
  • Since the police are involved in your example, I will take a leap and assume the question has something to do with reporting an allegation. If not, not. "The car is alleged to have been cleaned by John or The car was allegedly cleaned by John or The car is said to have been cleaned by John." The arrest, on the other hand, is a fact, and there is no need to change the tense.
    – TimR
    Oct 13, 2014 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


If you are listing items in a timeline by saying the time, then the event, you can use the present tense (I expanded on your example a bit):

At 8:00am, the car is cleaned by John.

At 8:01am, the police arrive.

At 8:05am, John is arrested by police.

You can also use the past tense and it will still make sense.

At 8:00am, the car was cleaned by John.

At 8:01am, the police arrived.

At 8:05am, John was arrested by police.

Again, the above only works if you are reading a list off to someone.

If you are simply saying what John did in a sentence, use the past tense:

John cleaned the car, and was arrested by police, at 8:00 am.

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