Read about using it is ... (that) and X is ... to with reporting verbs to report what people believe or say. Then, when you are ready, try these reporting passives practice exercises.

It is known / believed that + statement

This is a common way to report information in academic English, news reports and other types of formal English. Use it is past participle that + statement.

It is known that smoking can cause cancer.

It has been argued that girls do better in single sex schools.


X is known / believed to + verb

Another similar structure starts with the person/thing that does the action. Use X is past participle to + verb to report what people believe or say about X.

Smoking is known to cause cancer.

If you want to talk about an action in the past, use to + have + past participle.

He is believed to have murdered 6 people.


Common reporting verbs

Verbs for mental processes:

It is assumed, believed, felt, hoped, known, thought, recognised, understood ...

Verbs for speaking:

It has been acknowledged, agreed, alleged, announced, argued, claimed, confirmed, estimated, pointed out, proposed, predicted, reported, said, suggested ...

Verbs for research:

It has been demonstrated, discovered, established, observed, found, proved/proven, seen, shown ... 

Note you can use different forms of 'to be', depending on the situation. For example, research is usually reported with 'it has been' or 'it was'.

  • It is thought ... (now)
  • It was believed ... (past)
  • It has been shown ... (before now, still true)
  • It could be argued ... (possibility)
  • It will be seen ... (future fact / prediction)

Now try these passives practice exercises to test yourself on using reporting passives structures.