You are on page 1of 15

PASSIVE VOICE The passive is formed by using the appropriate tense of the verb to be + past participle.

Present Perfect Continuous, Future Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous are not normally used in the passive. Active Voice Present Simple They serve dinner at 6.00. Present Continuous They are serving dinner now. Past Simple They served dinner. Past Continuous They were serving Future Simple dinner. Present Perfect They will serve dinner. Past Perfect They have served Future Perfect dinner. Passive Voice Dinner is served at 6.00. Dinner is being served now. Dinner was served. Dinner was being served. Dinner will be served. Dinner has been served. Dinner had been served. Dinner will have been served.

Present infinitive They had served dinner. Dinner should be Perfect infinitive served. They will have served dinner. Dinner should have -ing form been served. They should serve dinner. Perfect -ing form He likes his dinner being They should have served. Modals + be + served dinner. p.p. He likes people Dinner having been serving his dinner. served... Having served Dinner must be served.

dinner,... You must serve dinner.

Note: Get is used in colloquial English instead of be to express something happening by accident He got hurt last Monday, (more usual than: He was hurt last Monday.) The passive is used when the agent (the person who does the action) is unknown, unimportant or obvious from the context. The door had been locked, (we don't know who locked it unknown agent). Repairs are being made on the runway, (by the builders - obvious agent) when we are interested more in the action than the agent, such as in news reports, formal notices, instructions, processes, headlines, advertisements etc. The whole area was evacuated. (news report). Breakfast is served from 6.00 to 10.30. (formal notice) to make statements more formal or polite. "My new dress has been ruined." (more polite than saying "You ruined my dress.") to put emphasis on the agent. The Pyramids were built by the ancient Egyptians. Task 29. Write sentences in the passive as in the example. The floor hasn't been cleaned 1 (The floor/not clean/yet) yet. 2 (The politician/interview/now) 3 (The Mona Lisa/paint/Leonardo da Vinci) 4 (My flat/burgle/last night) 5 (All tickets/sell/before we got there) 6 (The dog/not feed/yet) 7 (The presents/wrap/now) 8 (The prizes / award / President / tomorrow) 9 (Tea/grow/India) 10 (The prisoners/take/to prison/now) Task 30. Put the verbs in brackets into the correct passive form.

Something should 1) ...be done... (do) to protect holidaymakers from awful experiences. So many articles 2) (write) so far in newspapers and magazines warning tourists to guard against being victims of tricksters. The brochure advertisements ought to 3) (approve) by ABTA before 4) (publish) to ensure that the details which 5) (give) aren't misleading or inaccurate. Mr and Mrs Brown had a typical bad holiday experience. They arrived at the old hotel which was situated in the middle of nowhere. The brochure claimed that it 6) (build) recently, out it was obvious that it was old. It 7) (not/decorate) for years and the paint was peeling off the walls. The previous owners had sold the hotel, which 8) (buy) by an elderly couple. They 9) (advise) by their children to employ staff to manage it but, unfortunately, people 10) (still/interview) at the time when Mr and Mrs Brown arrived. Food 11) (not/serve) in the restaurant and guests 12) (expect) to make their own arrangements. As if that wasn't enough, when they went to their rooms, they found the bed Iinen13) (not/change) after the previous occupants. As far as Mr and Mrs Brown were concerned the hotel should 14) (close) until adequate staff 15) (employ). It is certainly nothing like the hotel which 16) (describe) in the brochure. Task 31. Rewrite the newspaper headlines as complete sentences. 1 DEMONSTRATION S AGAINST COUNCIL TAX HELD LAST SUNDAY 4 CHILD RESCUED FROM QUICKSAND YESTERDAY 2 ALL-DAY STRIKE TO BE HELD BY ELECTRICITY WORKERS 5 1,000,000 BEING RAISED FOR HOMELESS IN LA. 3 MISSING PAINTING NOT YET RECOVERED

6 MEXICO CITY TO BE HIT BY HURRICANE TOMORROW

Example: 1. Demonstrations against the Council Tax were

held last Sunday. CHANGING FROM ACTIVE INTO PASSIVE The object of the active verb becomes the subject in the new sentence. The active verb changes into a passive form and the subject of the active verb becomes the agent which is either introduced with "by" or is omitted. The passive can be used only with transitive verbs (verbs which take an object such as give, write, take, open etc). Verbs such as happen, sleep, come, go, seem etc are not used in the passive. In the passive we use by + agent to say who or what did the action. We use with + instrument or material to say what the agent used. She was hit on the head by the burglar with a piece of wood. With verbs that take two objects, it is more usual to begin the passive sentence with the person. They offered Ann a job. ->Ann was offered a job. (more usual than: A job was offered to Ann.) We put the agent (= person who performs the action) in the passive only if it adds information. When the agent is unknown, unimportant or obvious from the context, it is omitted. Agents such as someone, people, I, you etc are omitted. King Lear was written by Shakespeare. (The agent is not omitted; it adds information.) Somebody helped him. -We was helped (by somebody), (unknown agent; by+ agent are omitted.) Make, hear, help, see are followed by a to-infinitive in the passive. They helped him tidy the garage. -We was helped to tidy the garage. Note that hear, see, watch can be followed by a present participle in the active and passive. I heard her practising the piano. - She was heard practising the piano. The verbs believe, expect, feel, hope, know, report, say, think etc are used in the following passive patterns in personal and impersonal constructions. People believe he is a liar. a) subject (person) + passive + to-infini tive (personal construction) H e is believed be a liar. to

It + passive + that-clause (im personal construction) It is believed that he is a liar. We use be + past participle or have been + past participle after modal verbs (will, can, may etc). He can't repair the lock. - The lock can't be repaired. They may have painted the house. - The house may have been painted. Verbs followed by a preposition (eg. accuse sb of, look after etc) take the preposition immediately after them when turned into the passive. They accused him of murder. -He was accused of murder . In passive questions with who/whom/which we do not omit by. Who gave you this book? - Who were you given this book by? Who signed the letter? - Who was this letter signed by? Participles like amazed, broken, interested, pleased, worried etc can be used either as adjectives or past participles in the passive. If these participles are used as adjectives, they cannot be turned into the active. Compare: The first time I saw the building I was amazed, ("amazed" is used as an adjective) I was amazed by your work, ("amazed" is used as a past participle - Your work amazed me.) Task 32. Change from the active into the passive. Omit the agent where it can be omitted, the omission or inclusion of the agent.
b)

The Scots make the best fudge.... The best fudge is made by the Scots, (agent not omitted; emphasis on the agent) 2 You should take these tablets before meals. ___ 3 You must wash coloured clothes separately. ___ 4 The teacher sent him out of the classroom. _____ 5......................................................................................................................................Thousa nds of British tourists will visit Spain this summer. ____ 6......................................................................................................................................The dentist pulled out my rotten tooth. __ 7 The police are questioning him now. ___ 8 Someone has made a complaint. ____ 9 They had left the lights on ____
1

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

I broke my arm when I fell out of a tree ____ The horrible old man was slowly poisoning the cat _____ The snow will have covered the mountains by Christmas. ___ The waitress serves breakfast at 7 am. ____ Who delivered the parcel? ____ Her parents made her clean her room _____ They will have finished the work by tonight ____ Someone had warned her that she might lose her job. ____ Who discovered America? _________ Who is going to feed your dog? ______ Who answered the phone? _______ Who did they give the prize to? _____ Which building are they going to knock down? ______

Task 33. Put the verbs in brackets into the correct passive form. Last week a new leisure centre 1) ...was opened... (open) in the town Halden. The centre 2) (believe) to be the largest in Europe and it 3) (hope) that it 4) (visit) by over 40,000 people a month. The centre 5) (plan) for over ten years, but it 6) (only/make) possible by a large government grant. Unfortunately, it 7) (not/finish) yet, but it 8) (think) that it 9) (complete) by next month. The centre includes n Olympic-size swimming pool and fifty tennis courts which 10) (can/book) by phone. The gym 11) (claim) to be the most modern in the country. The equipment 12) (buy) in Germany and training 13) (provide) by five top instructors. Entrance fees are cheap because half the cost 14) (pay) by the local council, so many local people will be able to afford them. Task 34. Fill in by or with. 9 The football fans were 1 Most children are strongly observed __ the police. influenced ...by...their 10 My hair was cut __ a top parents. stylist. 2..................................................The jam sandwiches were made 11......................................The goal was ___ white bread. scored __Liverpool's youngest 3 Jake was dismissed __ his player. boss. 12 The beds were made up _ 4 The show was presented clean sheets.

__Mr Jones. 5 The parcels were tied __ string. 6 The meal was eaten __chopsticks. 7 The song was performed _Madonna. 8 This awful mess was made __Carol's dog.

The supermarket trolley was filled __cat food. 14.........................My camera was loaded __a black and white film.
13.......................................................

Task 35. Complete the sentences using the passive and the verbs must, shouldn't, might, can't 1 A: Has the rubbish been collected yet? B: Well, it's not here now so it ...must have been collected.. 2 A: Did anyone tell David about the meeting? B: He's written it in his diary so he ________ 3 A: Has someone repaired the telephone? B: I've just used it so it ______ 4 A: Was Sue injured in the car accident? B: She ____________________I heard there were a few casualties. 5 A: Did anyone move the accident victim? B: Yes, but he _______________________It was a mistake to touch him. 6 A: Ted said someone stole his car. Is that true? B: No. It _____________________________I've just seen him driving it. Task 36. Turn the following into the passive as in the example: 1 The policeman gave me a ticket.4 Ken offered Janet a ride. I was given a ticket by the policeman............................ Janet A ticket was given to me by the policeman A ride .. 2 The waiter is serving them dinner now. 5 Miss Price has taught Arnie a new dance step. They................................ Arnie .............................. Dinner............................. A new dance step ........... 3 The teacher won't show him his marks. 6 They should have ordered you a taxi. He .................................. You ................................. His marks ....................... A taxi............................... Task 37. Make sentences in the passive using infinitives or gerunds as in the example: 1 He expected people to have shown him more respect. ...He expected to have been shown more respect. 2 I love people giving me flowers...................................... 3 They can't stand people criticising them.......................

4 It seemed that the news shocked him........................... 5 She hates people keeping her waiting........................... 6 Someone ought to have told us about this.................... 7 Having eaten the dessert, we went on to drink coffee... 8 She likes people complimenting her on her work.......... Task 38. Rewrite the following passage in the passive. My parents own the best restaurant in our town. Last weekend my father dismissed the head waiter as he had stolen some stock from the cellar. My father is going to hire a new waiter as he is doing all the work by himself at the moment. He asked me to help serve the food. However, I mixed up all the orders and the customers made several complaints. I'm sure my father will never ask me to help him again! Task 39. Use the active or the passive in any appropriate form of the verbs in brackets. 1 Although the cheetah is the fastest animal in the world, it is in danger of becoming extinct if it continues...to be killed... (kill) for its skin. 2 The children (frighten) by the story. It was about ghosts, witches and evil spirits. 3 Derek crashed his mother's car, and now they can't go on holiday. It (cannot/repair) quickly, because the front end (knock) into the wheel, making it unmoveable. 4 Yesterday we had a surprise party for Albert's birthday. While Mary.....................................................................(take) him to a show, we (gather) at his apartment. When they..(return) home, Albert was surprised to see us all there. 5 The scandal is certain (report) in all the newspapers. The president (have) a difficult year. 6 Joan is an example of someone who can beat the odds. In 1980, she...............................................................(tell) she had six months to live because she had cancer. After exercise, dieting and positive thinking she (recently/inform) that she (beat) the disease. 7 This newspaper (publish) by an Italian company. I (always/have) interesting stories. 8 Rice (grow) in this area for hundreds of years, but now the government (try) to find an alternative crop because rice (not/make) much profit last year.

9 My shoes (make) in Italy, but I (buy) them in France last May. 10 The Queen (not/see) since last July. The newspapers (say) that she is sick, but most people (not/believe) it. Task 40. Rewrite the following passage in the passive. The Government made an important decision last night. They will ban all cars from the centre of town as pollution is seriously affecting people's health. They will allow only bicycles and buses to enter the town centre. They are making plans for a new environmental police force. After all, they must do something before it's too late. Task 41. Rewrite the following passage in the passive. James Fitt witnessed a horrific plane crash last night. The fire brigade fought the wreckage fire while ambulance men rescued surviving passengers. Ambulances took all the survivors to hospital. No one knows yet what caused the plane to crash. Newspaper and TV reporters have already interviewed many of the survivors. The Civil Aviation Authority has launched a full investigation. They say that someone may have seen the accident happen. They hope that the aircraft's "black box" will provide the vital information but they haven't found it yet. They are continuing the search. Task 42. Rewrite the following 1 They say that the Loch Ness monster exists. It is said that the Loch Ness monster exists. The Loch Ness monster is said to exist 2 They hope that a cure for the disease is imminent 3 They believe that the hostage had died. 4 They expect that Jim will be offered a promotion. sentences as in the example: 5 They say that he was a dishonest man.

6 They believe that Elvis Presley is alive 7 Everyone expects Rangers to win the cup. 8 People think that man is related to apes.

Task 43. Rewrite the following sentences in the passive as in the example: 1 Police use trained dogs to find drugs. ...Trained dogs are used by the police to find drugs. 2 Nurses give the patients their medicine every morning

3 A lifeguard rescued the drowning boy.................... 4 An electrician is repairing our water heater............ 5 A defence lawyer will represent you....................... 6 They clean the rooms daily..................................... 7 Customs officers searched her suitcases................ 8 Hijackers were holding the plane passengers hostage 9 A gas leak had caused the explosion...................... 10...............................................................................An eyewitness gave the police a full report..................... 11...............................................................................The government has increased the tax on cigarettes....... 12...............................................................................They are going to launch the product in May............................ Task 44. Make passive sentences using the words in brackets. 1 A:Were there many people invited to the party? B: Yes, about 50 people were invited.... (about 50/people/invite) 2 A:Where is the accounts department? B:...............................................................Oh, it ___(move/to the fifth floor). 3 A:What happened to that old woman? B:.....................................................................She ____ (attack/and/rob). 4 A:Why does she look so happy? B:.............................................................She _____ (promote/to manageress). 5 A:What will happen to the old farmhouse? B:.........................................................................It ______ (pull down). 6 A: Where are James and Simon? B: They __ (send/to the London office/last month)

Task 45. Change from the passive to active. 1 His alibi may not be believed by the police. ...The police may not believe his alibi. 2 The missing person was located by the private detective............................................................... 3 Our leaking roof is being fixed by the builders... 4 Dinosaur remains have been found by a team of archaeologists....................................................... 5 You will be protected by a bodyguard 24 hours a day 6 Air fares on all international flights have been increased by most major European airlines. 7 Plants are used by herbalists to cure common illnesses The offer will be confirmed by Jones Ltd tomorrow. 9.............................................................................Tickets are checked by inspectors regularly.... 10 Several members of the class were punished by the teacher.. 11...........................................................................The award is being presented by an eminent scientist. 12.............................................................................She likes her paintings being admired................................ 13.............................................................................This matter must be attended to immediately!................ 14 The window will have been replaced by the glazier by now. .. 15.............................................................................Your flight may be delayed by a strike..........................
8.............................................................................

Task 46. Oral Activity Four young college students have bought an old doubledecker bus and they are in the process of converting it into a mobile home so that they can tour Europe in it this summer. Look at the pictures and notes, then make sentences in the passive as in the example: The windows have been replaced. windows replaced, blinds put up, tyres repaired, door being put on, bus being painted, lights being repaired, roof removed, toilet and shower to be installed, new seats to be

put in

Task 47. Writing Activity. Write your friend a letter telling him what has been done, is being done or will be done to convert the doubledecker bus into a mobile home and invite him on the tour round Europe, Dear Sam, I can't tell you how excited we all are. Last month we bought an old double-decker bus to convert into a mobile home so that we can tour Europe in it this summer. So far the windows have been replaced ...