It would be a great help to me,if someone avoid my doubt in the following two sentences, considering each separately.

1) It is being cautious.(typical sentence for an animal),

2) It is being organized.(it refers to some event)

Are both of these sentences in present continuous tense (in active voice or passive voice)?


3 Answers 3


The passive voice indicates that an action is carried out upon, or done to, the subject.

He was being taken in an ambulance to the hospital emergency room.
The fence was being painted blue.

"Cautious" is a characteristic of the animal; it is not an action being carried out upon the animal.


Passive constructions require the use of the past participle.

Cautious is an adjective not a past participle. So that sentence is in the present progressive active.

"The event is being organized" has a past participle (organized), so this sentence is a passive construction in the present progressive. If you can easily add a "by clause", it is good evidence that the sentence is meant to be taken as a passive construction. "The event is being organized by someone."

Edit: present progressive is just another name for present continuous.


Let's look at your second sentence first:

2) It is being organized.

This is a passive voice construction.  The existence of some semantic actor or agent is implied, but the subject of the sentence serves a different semantic role.  We can transform this into an active voice construction by supplying an agent as the subject: Something is organizing it.

The complete verb is "is being organized".  This employs the passive voice, present tense, continuous aspect, and indicative mode.  Since the verb carries an action from an agent to a patient, it is a transitive verb.

1) It is being cautious.

This is not a passive voice construction.  As far as I can tell, this sentence has no voice at all.  This is a copular construction.  The verb serves to link the adjective "cautious" to the subject "it".

The complete verb is "is being".  This employs the present tense, continuous aspect, and indicative mode. 

It is easy enough to regard the adjective "cautious" as a modifier of the subject "it".  It is also easy enough to regard the participle "organized" as a modifier of the subject of its sentence.  The difference is that the adjective does not imply any sort of agent, but the transitive verb does. 

In both cases, "is" marks the present tense and "being" marks the continuous aspect.  Only one sentence employs the passive voice, but both sentences are present continuous constructions.

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