Luganda

The passive form in Luganda

How to use the passive verb

The passive voice is used frequently in Luganda.

Using the passive changes the action so that the verb is not what the subject does, but what is done to the subject. For example, “The people count.” in the passive form is “The people are counted.”

How to construct the passive form

To construct the passive verb, look at the verb stem.

If the second-to-last letter of the verb stem is a, i, or u, the final -a of the verb is dropped and the suffix “-ibwa” is added in its place.

okugamba (to say) –> the second-to-last letter is a, so this becomes okugambibwa. (To be said)

okukungula (to harvest) –> the second-to-last letter is u, so this becomes okukungulibwa (to be harvested).

okubuulira (to tell) –> the second-to-last letter is i, so this becomes okubuuliribwa (to be told).

If the second-to-last letter of the verb stem is e or o, the final -a of the verb is dropped and the suffix “-ebwa” is added in its place.

okugoba (to chase away) –> the second to last letter is o, so this becomes okugobebwa (to be chased away).

okuweta (to turn) –> the second to last letter is e, so this becomes okuwetebwa (to be turned).

When speaking in the immediate or near past tense, the rules are the same except for the -ibwa or -ebwa becomes -iddwa or -eddwa.

Practice using the passive verb!

Check out this worksheet to help you practice using passive verbs.

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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.