passives (1): passive structures

and verb forms 407

The subject is often introduced by with when the clause expresses accompanying circumstances. A car roared past with smoke pouring from the exhaust. With Peter working in Birmingham, and Lucy travelling most of the week, the house seems pretty empty.


participle clauses after conjunctions and prepositions
Participle clauses can be used after many conjunctions and prepositions, such as after, before, since, when, while, whenever, once, until, on, without, instead of, in spite of and as. Note that - ing forms after prepositions can often be considered as either participles or gerunds - the dividing line is not clear (see 290). After talking to you I always feel better. After having annoyed everybody he went home. Depress clutch before changing gear. She's been quite different since coming back from America. When telephoningfrom abroad, dial 865, not 0865. Once deprived of oxygen, the brain dies. Leave in oven until cooked to a light brown colour. On being introduced, British people often shake hands. They left without saying goodbye. She struck me as being a very nervy kind of person.
For clauses like when ready, see 73.4. For other (more noun-like] uses of -ing forms after prepositions, see 295.


object complements
The structure object + participle (clause) is used after verbs of sensation (e.g. see, hear, feel, watch, notice, smell) and some other verbs (e.g. find, get, have, make). I saw a small girl standing in the goldfish pond. Have you ever heard a nightingale singing? Ifound her drinking my whisky. We'll have to get the car repaired before Tuesday. Do you think you can get the radio working? We'll soon have you walking again. I can make myself understood pretty well in English.
For more about structures 241. For make, see 327.

see, see 245. For hear, see 245. For get, see 228. For have, see




passive structures and verb forms

active and passive structures
Compare: - They built this house in 1486. [active) This house was built in 1486. (passive) - Channel Islanders speak French and English. (active) French is spoken in France, Belgium, Suiizerland, the Channel Islands ... (passive) •
page 407

will be changed. is spoken. we use active verb forms like built. This house was built in 1486 by Sir John Latton. is being repaired. You'll be told when the time comes. (passive) .passives (0: passive structures - and verb forms 407 Afriend of ours is repairing the roof (active) The roof is being repaired by a friend of ours. see 228.) Here is a list of all the passive forms of an ordinary English verb. Who's going to be invited? __ amlaretis being + pp was/were + pp was/were being + pp have/has been + pp had been +pp will be + pp will have been + pp am/are/is going to be + pp Future progressive passives (will be being + pp) and perfect progressive passives (e.we often use passive verb forms like was built. speak. (active) Your life will be changed by this book. Has Mary been told? [ knew why I had been chosen.what is done to them . (For get as a passive auxiliary. has been being + pp) are unusual. with their names. this usually happens in an expression with by. I wasn't invited. Tense simple present present progressive simple past past progressive present perfect past perfect will future future perfect going to future L- structure am/are/is + pp Example English is spoken here. (to) have been inuited: Examples of passive -ing forms: being watched. the subject of an active verb is not expressed in the corresponding passive sentence. page 408 . Examples of passive infinitives: (to) be taken. is repairing. Ifeltas if I was being watched. In most cases. will change.4. Excuse the mess. 2 passive verb forms We normally make passive forms of a verb by using tenses of the auxiliary be followed by the past participle (= pp) of the verb.This book will change your life. When we say what happens to people and things . Everything will have been done by Tuesday. but I went anyway. was built in 1486. If it does have to be expressed. having been invited.g. the house is being painted. (passive) When we say what people and things do. The object of an active verb corresponds OBJECT to the subject of a passive verb. Active: Passive: SUBJECT in 1486. the noun is called the' agent' (see 408).

simple past) He has called. are seldom used in the passive. see 440. Compare: He was calling. suit. see 10. (B U T NOT A Greek goddess is resembled by Sylvia.past progressive) He was called.e reer. not actions). (passive ."lwas walked into.passives (1): passive structures and verb forms 407 N ate that verbs made up of more than one word (see 582) can have passive forms if they are transitive. For the position of prepositions in passive clauses. (B UT NOT r'm "9tjitted-by--rH}'-5hoe&) Sylvia resembles a Greek goddess. Everybody agreed with me. because: (l) Be is used to make both passive verb forms and active progressive tenses. They have a nice house. Some transitive verbs. She likes being looked at. (BUT NOT -+aa-is-ladred . have. because there is nothing to become the subject of a passive sentence. (active .) We walked into the room. resemble. and students have to learn by experience which verbs cannot be used in the passive. page 409 . (B U T NOT A. (BUT NOT A bath was being kadb3l her. 4 confusing forms Students often confuse active and passive verb forms in English. officer. Typical mistakes: I was b'el}' interesting-in-the ks-sOfl. which cannot have objects. I need to be taken care of He hates being made afool of For the rules for the use of the different tenses etc. We wore questioning-hy the immigration. (2) Past participles are used to make both passive verb forms and active perfect tenses.) Your mother lacks tact. Most of these are 'stative verbs' (verbs which refer to states. Passive structures are impossible with intransitive verbs like die or arrive. passive forms. loa.) My shoes don't fit me. nice house is had hy them. The furniture was broken up for firewood. (BUT NOT Th. Mistakes like these are not surprising. J She was haoing a bath.present perfect Simple) For more about transitive and intransitive verbs.. For active verb forms. for lif~. see 579.. see the entries on the various 3 verbs not used in the passive Not all verbs can have passive forms. She has put in prison. Examples arefit.2. (active . (BUT NOT -I-was-agreed with byeh'el}'hody. lack.) There are no clear rules about this.) Some prepositional verbs are mainly used in the active.

For more about wIth and by. This is another common reason for choosing passive structures ~ often including agents. do would make a very long subject. Too many books have been toritten about the Second World War. including some which are used like adjectives. I was annoyed by Mary wanting to tell everybody what to do. Those pyramids were built around 400 AD. see 117. you are really saying that something is done to him/her. Are you frightened of spiders? With is used when we talk about an instrument which is used by an agent to do an action. page 410 .the person or thing that does the action. for instance.) 1 active or passive? 2 meaning and grammar Meaning and grammar do not always go together.the portraitcan go at the end) 'Nice picture. The positive hydrogen atoms are attracted to the negative oxygen atoms. and this can also be a reason for choosing a passive structure. 409 passives (3): choice of passive structures We often choose to use passive structures when we want to talk about an action. My shoes are wearing out. Some English active verbs might be translated by passive or reflexive verbs in certain other languages (e. (More natural than Mary wanting to tell everybody what to do annoyed me . l was shocked by your attitude.. if you say that somebody receives something or suffers.g. that agents are mentioned in only about 20 per cent of passive clauses.) All the trouble was caused by your mother.' 'Yes. She is sitting. We often prefer to begin a sentence with something that is already known.. (Note.the painter . or that causes what happens.the phrase Mary . however.S). we usually use a phrase beginning with by if we want to mention the agent . and to put the 'news' at the end. These carpets are made by children who work twelve hours a day. We were worried about/by her silence. but are not interested in saying who or what does I did it.' (passive verb so that the 'news' . Compare: John's painting my portrait. (active verb so that the 'news' . or that we are already talking about. it was painted by my grandmother. After the past participles of some stative verbs. Passives without' agents' (see 408) are common in academic and scientific writing for this reason.can go at the end) Longer and heavier expressions often go at the end of a clause. He was shot (by the policeman) with a rifle. other prepositions can be used instead of by (see 40S. Not all active verbs have 'active' meanings.passives (2): agent 408 408 passives (2): agent In a passive clause.

A. The policewoman had already been shown Sam's photo. And some English passives might be translated by active or reflexive verbs (e. Other common verbs used in these structures include pay. In structure B (e. see 293. can be followed by two objects. For more about the way information is organised in sentences. see 579. direct object becomes subject of passive verb The car was given to her sister. The headmaster was sent an forms with passive meanings after need and want (e. The car was given to her sister).~ '!"'- Her sister was given the car. You were lent ten thousand pounds last year. indirect object becomes subject of passive verb 3'f1"'· "'. For . see 471. Her sister was given the car) is probably the more common of the two. A. or on what needs to be put last in the sentence (see 289 for more about 'information structure').g. refuse. prepositions are sometimes dropped before indirect object pronouns. I had already shown the policewoman Sam's photo. send.3. For more about verbs like open ('ergative verbs'). B. promise.g. The visitors were shown a collection of old manuscripts. verb + direct object + preposition + indirect object She gave the car to her sister.3.passives (4):verbs with two objects 410 Suddenly the door opened). My watch needs cleaning). see 289. The choice between the two passive structures may depend on what has been said before. For active and passive past participles. see 287). Sometimes active and passive infinitives can be used with very similar meanings: for example There's a lot of work to do I to be done (for details. I was born in 1956. to drown / to be drowned (see 169).3. For more about reflexive verbs. Both of these structures can be made passive. I had already shown Sam's photo to the policewoman. Some verbs can be used in both active and passive forms with similar meanings: for example to worry / to be worried. 410 passives (4): verbs with two objects Many verbs. Sam's photo had already been shown to the policewoman. Two structures are possible. verb + indirect object + direct object She gave her sister the car. show. Structure A (e. an 'indirect object' and a 'direct object'. B. page 411 .g. This watch was given (to) me by my father. English is spoken here). More examples: I'vejust been senta whole lot of information. such as give. lend. see 404. These usually refer to a person (indirect object) and a thing (direct object).g.

page 412 . It was thought that she was a spy. They are allowed to visit Harry once a week. (BUT NOT ThechilMeR wereexpltlinetl the]9F8blem. (e.. They believe him to be dangerous. see next section. bbI6t5 heped by}ohn. (BUT NOT That she was aspy UJ6lS thought by them aU. wasfelt.passives (5): sentences with infinitive and clause objects 411 tell. We were told not to come back.) A meeting place was suggested to us. offer. John hoped to meet her. For passive versions of object + infinitive structures was thought to be a spy). He is known to be a criminal. see 583 411 passives (5): sentences with infinitive and clause objects Some sentences have infinitives or clauses as their objects.g. 545). He asked me to send a stamped addressed envelope.) We felt that he was the right man for the job. They thought her to be a spy I She 412 1 passives (6): verbs with object + infinitive passive structures with following infinitive Many verbs can be followed by object + infinitive (see 284). Felicity was chosen to be the Carnival Queen...) The newspapers say that his company is in trouble.) For more details of verbs with two objects. these structures can be made passive. (B U T NOT That his eomptmy is in trouble is Stlid . (BUT NOT To meet he. These cannot normally become the subjects of passive sentences. {BUT NOT That he was . Moriarty is thought to be violent. We chose Felicity to be the Carnival Queen. It was felt that he was the right man for the job.) They all thought that she was a spy. In most cases. I was asked to send a stamped addressed envelope. He is believed to be dangerous. (BUT NOT We were suggested a meetingplaee. ) However. Note that explain and suggest cannot be used in structure A (see 204. It is said that his company is in trouble... passive structures are often possible if it is used as a preparatory subject for a clause (see 301). The problem was explained to the children.

His company is said to be in trouble. In passive structures to-infinitives are used.passives (7): object complements 413 Note that with say the infinitive structure is only possible in the passive. think. liking and similar ideas cannot usually be used in passive structures with following infinitives. by object + to (see 277). You've made the house beautiful. He is believed to have crossed the frontier last night. They elected AIrs Sanderson President. feel. (= It is thought that there are . There are thought to be more than 3. We all regarded Kathy as an expert.a noun or adjective which describes or classifies the object. Everybody wanted Doris to be the manager. report. 2 infinitives without to Hear. The other children called her stupid.) In some other cases. make and help can be followed. (n n r NOT TheySRyhis c9Hlf1Bny to be in trouble. I was told to be waiting outside the station at 6 0 'clock.They made him tell them everything. see. the passive structure is possible with there as a 'preparatory subject'. understand). presume. He was made to tell them everything. 5 exceptions: wanting and liking Verbs that refer to wanting. He was seen to come out of the house. the infinitive structure is more common in the passive than in the active (see 580. . 3 preparatory there With some verbs (e. Most people saw him as a sort of clown.. 4 perfect. page 413 . Queen Victoria considered him a genius. ) There was said to be disagreement between the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary. progressive and passive infinitives A passive verb can be followed by a perfect. (nUT NOT Ourstaffare liked 18 say whatthey think.) We like our staff to say what they think. progressive or passive infinitive.3).. (BUT NOT Doris was WRnted t6 he the manager.g.000 different languages in the world. in active structures.) 413 passives (7): object complements After some verbs the direct object can be followed by an 'object complement' .I saw him come out of the house. say. infinitive without Compare: . The hostages are expected to be released today.

g.) I think your ankle is broken. Other verbs do not: for example push. (refers to the state of being shut . has been broken.. Some English tenses express meanings (e.. The past participles of finished-result verbs. and this can make the use of tenses difficult for students to learn. completion. Kathy was regarded as an expert.passives (8): finished-result verbs 414 In passive clauses these are subject complements. carry. close. and some oftheir passive tenses. The vegetables are all cut up . they come after the verb. They can refer to the action. pack. can have two meanings. see 5BO. (refers to the action of closing) When I got there I found that the theatre was closed.. L page 414 . ) I got caught in the rain and my suit's mined.the result of the action) Because of this. She was called stupid by the other children. six different tenses are used to talk about the past: the simple past (l worked) l the past progressive (I was working) u the simple present perfect (I haue worked) o the present perfect progressive (I have been working) c the simple past perfect (1 had worked) L the past perfect progressive (l had been working) The differences between these tenses are quite complicated. Mrs Sanderson was elected President. speak.. build. 414 passives (8): finished-result verbs Some verbs refer to actions that produce a finished result. present passive forms can have similar meanings to present perfect passives. or they can describe the result {rather like adjectives). has been ruined.. Compare: The theatre was closed by the police on the orders of the mayor. For more about object complements. He was considered a genius by Queen Victoria. (= . continuation.) 415 past time (1): talking about the past in English 1 six different tenses In English. hit. (= .what shall I do now? (= The vegetables have all been cut up . The most important rules for past and perfect tenses are given in the following sections. present importance) which are not expressed by verb forms in all other languages.. Examples are cut. The house has been made beautiful. for example. live. He was seen as a sort of clown.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful