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Grammar Point: The Passive Voice

Grammar Point: The Passive Voice

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Published by: joemacarra on Feb 07, 2010
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07/12/2013

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GRAMMAR POINT:THE PASSIVE VOICE
ACTIVE SENTENCES
The thing / person doing the action is thesubject (S) of the sentence and the thingreceiving the action is the object (O).Ex:
John is washing the car 
.(S) (O)
PASSIVE SENTENCES
The thing receiving the action is thesubject of the sentence and the thing /person doing the action is mentioned (or not!) at the end of the sentence.Ex:
The car is being washed (by John)
.(S)
HOW TO FORM THE PASSIVE VOICE
PASSIVE = BE + Past Participle (PP)
Some common tenses used in the passive voice:Present Simple
am
/
is
/
are
+ PPNice clothes
are sold
in this shop.
Present Continuous
am
/
is
/
are
 
being 
+ PP
He
is being taught 
how to drive
.
Past Simple
was
/
were
+ PP
Tom
wasbitten
by a snake
.
Past Continuous
was
/
were
 
being 
+ PP
 A story 
was being told 
when I entered the room.
Present perfect 
have
/
has been
+ PP
The doctor 
has been called 
.
Present  perfect 
Continuous
have
/
has been
 
being 
+ PP
Lately, all the work has been being done by Kate.
Past Perfect
had been
+ PP
The cake
had 
already 
been eaten
when we arrived.
PastPerfect Continuous
had been
 
being 
+ PP
The restaurant's succulent meals had been being  prepared by Chef Hall for ten years before he retired.
Future with WILL
will be
+ PP
I hope he
will 
not 
be
 
sent 
to prison
.
Future with GOING TO
am
/
is
/
are going to be
+ PP
Their house
isgoing to be sold 
.
Conditional 1
would be
+ PP
These books
would be read 
if there weremore pictures in them.
Conditional 2
would have been
+ PP
 A mail 
would have been sent 
if there had been a computer.
Modal ("present")
modal +
be
+ PP
The doctor 
must be called 
at once
.
Modal ("past")
modal +
have
 
been
+ PP
He
should have been punished 
for that 
.
 
PAST PARTICIPLE OF AREGULAR VERB
V + -ed
Ex:
invent 
> past participle =
invent ed 
PAST PARTICIPLE OF ANIRREGULAR VERB
3
rd
column
Ex:
break 
> past participle =
broken
 
WHEN TO USE THE PASSIVE VOICE
We use thePassive Voicewhen wedo not know the agent(= the person/thing that does / is doing / did … theaction).
Ex:
My bike was stolen last weekend.
(I don’t know who stole my bike.)
when theagentisnot important.
Ex:
The dishes are being washed.
(the focus here is on the dishes, not on theperson who is washing the dishes.)
Note
:
When we want to add who or what did the action, we use
by 
.
The dishes are being washed by John.
(not Kate)
when theagentisobvious.
Ex:
The thief was arrested yesterday.
(Only the police can arrest thieves.)
OTHER REMARKS
Do not use
by 
with a pronoun.
Ex:
He has washed the car.
→ 
The car has been washed by him
.
When an active sentence hastwo objects(a direct object and an indirect object), itis possible to maketwo passive sentences.
Ex:
Her boyfriend sent her a dozen roses for her birthday 
.
 
 A dozen roses were sent to her (by her boyfriend) for her birthday 
.
 
She was sent a dozen roses for her birthday 
.
Impersonal Passive. Impersonal Passive is only possiblewith verbs of perception  (e. g.
say 
,
think 
,
know 
).
Ex:They say that women are as intelligent as men.
It is said that women are as intelligent as men.
Note
:
 You can also say:
Women are said to be as intelligent as men.
 
TIME TO PRACTISE!
Exercise 1:Transform into PASSIVE sentences. (Pay attention to the tense.)
Present SimpleTourists take many pictures of the Eiffel Tower. _____________________________________________________ Present SimpleDoes your mother help you? _____________________________________________________ Present ContinuousSomeone is cleaning your room, Sir. _____________________________________________________ Present ContinuousThe children are painting a fresco at their school. _____________________________________________________ 
 
1.
Past SimpleBurglars broke into her house. _____________________________________________________ 
2.
Past SimpleDid they send the letter? _____________________________________________________ 
3.
Past ContinuousHe was telling a story when I arrived. _____________________________________________________ 
4.
Present PerfectThey have eaten all the cookies. _____________________________________________________ 
5.
Present PerfectHas she typed the letter? _____________________________________________________ 
6.
Future with WILLKate will buy a new dress. _____________________________________________________ 
7.
Future with WILLHe will not repair her bike. _____________________________________________________ 
8.
ModalYou must fill in this form. _____________________________________________________ 
9.
Modal He should leave the window open. _____________________________________________________ 
Exercise 2:Transform into ACTIVE sentences. (Pay attention to the tense.).1.
Present SimpleThis restaurant is owned by the Jacksons. _____________________________________________________ 
2.
Present ContinuousA new model is being tested. _____________________________________________________ 
3.
Past Simple
Oliver Twist 
was written by Charles Dickens. _____________________________________________________ 
4.
Past ContinuousThe issue was being talked about when I entered the room. _____________________________________________________ 
5.
Present PerfectA terrible mistake has been made by our boss. _____________________________________________________ 
6.
Future with WILLHe will be found guilty by the court. _____________________________________________________ 

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