So, I understand what passive voice is, but how would would use it in the past. For example (this is a horrible example by the way): Книга читается женщиной. But, how would this be made past tense? Would it be "Книга читалась женщиной", or is that completely wrong?

  • 1
    Yes, it is correct grammatically, although this particular sentence sounds awkward. Another example: Этот замок возводился лучшими строителями страны
    – Vilmar
    Jan 23, 2015 at 7:48

3 Answers 3


From a point of view of grammar it is totally fine.

It's just that this particular example sounds weird to a native speaker. It is generally better to use active voice here: "Женщина читала книгу"

There are examples where you can use читаться so it would sound fine:

  1. When you're speaking about reading data in electronic devices. Данные на флешке не читаются (не читались) на этом устройстве(этим устройством). "Data on this USB-flash drive are not read/cannot be read (could not be read) on this device"
  2. When you say something like "not feeling like". Like when you pick a book in the evening after a hard day and say: "что-то мне не читается". I don't feel like reading.

Maybe there are more, can't remember right now.

  • 1
    More examples where passive voice sounds natural: насколько я помню, книга читалась легко (the book was easy to read); эта буква не читается (this letter is not pronounced)
    – J-mster
    Jan 24, 2015 at 12:15

That's correct (though it is an awkward sentence). The past tense of reflexive verbs is formed the same way as non-reflexive verbs. For example, consider двигать 'move sth' past tense двигал(а,о,и) and its reflexive counterpart двигаться 'move (oneself)' past tense двигался двигалась двигалось двигались.


Formally, the reflexive verbs have no distinction from the non-reflexive ones in their forms when they decline in person, gender, tense, etc. You have everything correct, do not worry.

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