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Passive Voice

Passive Voice

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Published by: Luisa Houses on May 08, 2012
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Use of Passive Form of Passive Examples of Passive Passive Sentences with Two Objects Personal and Impersonal Passive Activities: tenses and texts

Use of Passive Uso de la pasiva
Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. It is not important or not known, however, who or what is performing the action. La voz pasiva se utiliza cuando nos centramos en la acción. No importa, o se desconoce quién o qué realiza la acción.


My bike was stolen. -

Mi bicicleta fue robada.

In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it. En el ejemplo de arriba la importancia está en el hecho de que mi bicicleta fue robada. Yo no sé, sin embargo, quién lo hizo. Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows: Algunas veces una oración en pasiva es más educada que en voz activa, como demuestra el ejemplo siguiente:


A mistake was made.


Se cometió un error.

In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone En este caso me centro en el hecho de que se cometió un error, pero no culpo a nadie, como si dijese :


You have made a mistake.


Tú has cometido un error.

Form of Passive Forma de la pasiva
Subject + to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)


A letter was written.


Una carta fue escrita

When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following: Cuando transformamos oraciones activas en pasivas sucede lo siguiente: The object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. El objeto de la oración activa se convierte en sujeto paciente de la oración pasiva. The finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle). La forma activa del verbo se cambia a la perífrasis ser (en el mismo tiempo verbal que en la activa) + participio (de ese mismo verbo). The subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped). El sujeto agente de la oración activa se convierte en objeto (complemento agente) de la oración pasiva introducido por BY (o se quita).

Examples of Passive Ejemplos de pasiva
Tense Simple Present Active: Passive: Active: Passive: Subject Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Verb Writes is written wrote was written has written has been written will write will be written can write can be written Object a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita.

Simple Past

Present Perfect Active: Passive: Future I Active: Passive: Active: Passive:

Modal verb

Tense Present Progressive Past Progressive Past Perfect Active: Passive: Active: Passive: Active: Passive: Active: Passive: Active: Passive: Active: Passive:

Subject Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter

Verb is writing is being written was writing was being written had written had been written will have written will have been written would write would be written would have written would have been written

Object a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita.

Future II

Conditional I

Conditional II

Passive Sentences with Two Objects Oraciones pasivas con dos objetos (directo e indirecto)
Rewriting an active sentence with two objects in passive voice means that one of the two objects becomes the subject, the other one remains an object. Which object to transform into a subject depends on what you want to put the focus on. Transformar una oración activa con dos objetos (directo e indirecto) en pasiva supone que uno de los dos objetos se convierta en sujeto y el otro permanezca como objeto. Qué objeto usemos como nuevo sujeto dependerá de lo que queramos resaltar. Subject Rita A letter I Verb wrote was written was written Object 1 a letter to me a letter Object 2 to me. by Rita. by Rita.

Active: Passive: Passive:

. As you can see in the examples, adding by Rita does not sound very elegant. That’s why it is usually dropped. Como puedes ver en los ejemplos, añadir por Rita no suena muy elegante. Por eso normalmente se quita.

Personal and Impersonal Passive Pasiva personal e impersonal
Personal Passive simply means that the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. So every verb that needs an object (transitive verb) can form a personal passive. Pasiva personal simplemente significa que el objeto de la oración activa se convierte en sujeto de nuestra oración pasiva. Así cada verbo que necesite un objeto (verbos transitivos) pueden formar una pasiva personal.


They build houses. – Houses are built.

- Ellos construyen casas – Casas son construidas.

Verbs without an object (intransitive verb) normally cannot form a personal passive sentence (as there is no object that can become the subject of the passive sentence). If you want to use an intransitive verb in passive voice, you need an impersonal construction – therefore this passive is called Impersonal Passive. Los verbos sin objeto (verbos intransitivos) normalmente no pueden formar una pasiva personal (puesto que no hay un objeto no puede convertirse en sujeto de la oración pasiva). Si quieres usar un verbo intransitivo en pasiva necesitarás una construcción impersonal –por eso a esta pasiva se le llama Pasiva impersonal.


He says – It is said


El dice… - Se dice…

Impersonal Passive is not as common in English as in some other languages (e.g. German, Spanish). In English, Impersonal Passive is only possible with verbs of perception (e. g. say, think, know). La Pasiva impersonal no es tan frecuente en inglés como en otras lenguas (por ejemplo el alemán o el español). En inglés la Pasiva impersonal sólo es posible con verbos de percepción (decir, pensar, saber,…).


They say that women live longer than men. – It is said that women live longer than men. Ellos dicen que las mujeres viven más tiempo que los hombres. - Se dice que las mujeres viven más tiempo que los hombres.

Although Impersonal Passive is possible here, Personal Passive is more common. Aunque la Pasiva impersonal es posible aquí, la Pasiva personal es más frecuente.


They say that women live longer than men. – Women are said to live longer than men. Ellos dicen que las mujeres viven más tiempo que los hombres. - Se dice que las mujeres viven más tiempo que los hombres.

The subject of the subordinate clause (women) goes to the beginning of the sentence; the verb of perception is put into passive voice. The rest of the sentence is added using an infinitive construction with 'to' (certain auxiliary verbs and that are dropped). Sometimes the term Personal Passive is used in English lessons if the indirect object of an active sentence is to become the subject of the passive sentence. El sujeto de la proposición subordinada (mujeres) va al comienzo de la oración; el verbo de percepción se pone en pasiva y el resto de la oración es añadido utilizando la construcción de infinitivo con TO (ciertos verbos auxiliares y that se quitan). Algunas veces el término Pasiva personal se utiliza para aquellas oraciones en las que le objeto indirecto de la oración activa se convierte en el sujeto de la oración Pasiva.

Write passive sentences in Simple Present.
1. the documents / print …The documents are printed 2. the window / open … 3. the shoes / buy … 4. the car / wash … 5. the litter / throw away … 6. the letter / send … 7. the book / read / not … 8. the songs / sing / not … 9. the food / eat / not … 10. the shop / close / not …

Write passive sentences in Simple Past.
1. the test / write …The test was written. 2. the table / set … 3. the cat / feed … 4. the lights / switch on … 5. the house / build … 6. dinner / serve … 7. this computer / sell / not … 8. the car / stop / not … 9. the tables / clean / not … 10. the children / pick up / not …

Write passive sentences in Present Perfect.
1. the postcard / send …The postcard has been sent. 2. the pencils / count … 3. the door / close … 4. the beds / make … 5. the mail / write … 6. the trees / plant … 7. the money / spend … 8. the room / book / not … 9. the rent / pay / not … 10. the people / inform / not …

Write passive sentences in Future I.
1. the exhibition / visit …The exhibition will be visited. 2. the windows / clean … 3. the message / read … 4. the thief / arrest … 5. the photo / take … 6. these songs / sing … 7. the sign / see / not … 8. a dictionary / use / not … 9. credit cards / accept / not … 10. the ring / find / not …

Rewrite the sentences in passive voice.
He opens the door. …The door is opened (by him). They wear blue shoes. – They don't help you. – He doesn't open the book. – Does your mum pick you up? – Does the police officer catch the thief? – She sang a song. – We stopped the bus. – She didn't win the prize. – They didn't make their beds. – Did you tell them? – Did he send the letter? – Kerrie has paid the bill. – I have eaten a hamburger. – I have opened the present. – They have not read the book. – They have not caught the thieves. – Has she phoned him? – Have they noticed us? – Jane will buy a new computer. – Millions of people will visit the museum. – Our boss will sign the contract. – They will not show the new film. – Will the plumber repair the shower? – I can answer the question. –

She would carry the box. – You should open the window. – We might play cards. – You ought to wash the car. – He must fill in the form. – They need not buy bread. – He could not read the sentence. – Will the teacher test our English? – Could Jenny lock the door? –

TWO OBJECTS PASSIVE Rachel will give you some advice.

→…You will be given some advice by Rachel. / Some advice will be given to you by Rachel.
I sent him a letter. →…He was sent a letter by me. / A letter was sent to him by me. The police officer showed us the way.

Our neighbour gave me a lift.

We have asked him a favour.

They have written her a postcard.

The waiter has not brought us the coffee.

Rachel will give you some advice.

I sent him a letter.

The police officer showed us the way.

We have asked him a favour.

She told me a lie.

Kerrie will make you a cup of tea.

They did not offer her a seat.

PERSONAL PASSIVE People know that she is a good swimmer. → She is known to be a good swimmer. They say that Francis is in hospital. → Francis is said to be in hospital. They think that the children are in bed.

People believe that the robber has worked in the bank.

People believe that nuclear power stations are dangerous.

His colleagues thought that he was on holiday.

People know that cars pollute the environment.

They suppose that the new product will come out soon.

They found that the mission was impossible.

They believe that she will win a gold medal.

Exercise on Passive Voice - Present Progressive
Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. Sheila is drinking a cup of tea. - A cup of tea is being drunk by Sheila. My father is washing the car. – Farmer Joe is milking the cows. – She is taking a picture of him. – I am writing a poem. – We are not playing football. – He is not wearing a tie. – Is she preparing the party? –

Exercise on Passive Voice - Past Progressive
Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. We were talking about Francis. – Francis was being talked about. He was playing the guitar. – She was watching a film. – I was repairing their bikes. – They were not eating dinner. – We were not painting the gate. – You were not driving him home. – He was not feeding the dogs. –

Exercise on Passive Voice - Past Perfect
Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. Joe had cleaned the tables. – The tables had been cleaned by Joe. We had lost the key. – They had started a fight. – I had been reading an article. – I had not closed the window. – They had not bought the paper. – She had not noticed me. – Had she solved the problem? –

Exercise on Passive Voice - Future II
Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. You will have spent all the money. – All the money will have been spent by you. I will have taken the dog for a walk. – She will have sold the car. – They will have solved the problem. – She will not have read the book. – He won't have rung Barbara. – Will they have paid the bill? – Will you have washed my socks? –

Exercise on Passive Voice - Conditional I
Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. Jenny would congratulate you. – You would be congratulated by Jenny. She would order a pizza. – He would build a new house. – You would not recognize Jim. – I would not do that kind of job. – Would they decorate the room? – Would the DJ play this song? – Would Simon open the window? -

Exercise on Passive Voice - Conditional II
Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. They would have told you. – You would have been told. Mario would have bought a paper. – A paper would have been bought by Mario. She would have called the police. – We would have painted the walls green. – She would not have noticed the mistake. – Would my mum have packed the bag? – Would you have accepted that offer? – Would they have given the right answer? –

The Statue of Liberty
Complete the sentences (Active or Passive Voice). You must either use Simple Present or Simple Past. The Statue of Liberty (give)………………..to the United States by France. It (be)………………..a present on the 100th anniversary of the United States. The Statue of Liberty (design)………………… by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. It (complete)…………………. in France in July 1884. In 350 pieces, the statue then (ship)……………….. to New York, where it (arrive)………………. on 17 June 1885. The pieces (put)…………….together and the opening ceremony (take)……………… place on 28 October 1886. The Statue of Liberty (be)………………….. 46 m high (93 m including the base). The statue (represent)…………………. he goddess of liberty. She (hold)………………… a torch in her right hand and a tablet in her left hand. On the tablet you (see / can)………………..the date of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776). Every year, the Statue of Liberty (visit)…………………. by many people from all over the world.
Answers: was given / was / was designed / was completed / shipped / arrived / were put / took / is / represents / holds / can see / is visited.

Portal Dolmen
Complete the sentences (Simple Present or Simple Past). Portal dolmens (be)………………… ancient tombs. They (build)………………… about 6000 years ago. In order to build such a tomb, ancient people (put)………………….. up big stones. These standing stones then (form)…………………. the walls. Another huge stone, the cap stone, (place)………………….. on top of the other stones. Finally, the tomb (have)…………………….the form of a little chamber. In that chamber, the dead person (bury)…………………….. Then the entrance to the tomb (close)…………………… with another stone. Nowadays, portal dolmens (see / can)……………………in Ireland, Wales and Scotland. They (call)………………… portal dolmens because they (look)………………… like a huge doorway (or portal).
Answers: are / were built / put / formed / was placed / had / was buried / was closed / can be seen are called / look.

Exercise on Tenses in Summaries - Part 1
Summary - The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien) Summaries are usually written in present tense. Simple present is the most important tense in summaries. But other tenses are important too.
Decide whether to use simple present, simple past, present perfect or passive voice. Use the long forms. The Fellowship of the Ring (be)………………the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which (set)……………….in a fictive world, Middle Earth. It (tell)………………..the story of Frodo, a hobbit, and a magic ring. As the story (begin)……………….., Frodo (give)………………… a magic ring. The wizard Gandalf then (tell)………………… him of the Rings of Power and of Sauron, the Dark Lord, who (make)…………………. the Master Ring to rule all other Rings. Gandalf (advise)………………… Frodo to leave home and keep the ring out of Sauron's hands who already (send)……………….. his Black Riders in search for it. Frodo's ring (give)………………… Sauron the power to enslave Middle Earth.
Answers: was / was set / tells / begins / was given / told / made / advised / had already sent / gave.

Washington, DC
Washington, DC is the capital of the United States. DC stands for District of Columbia and means that Washington is not part of any federal state, but a unique district. The citizens of Washington, DC have no voting representation in Congress and are not at all represented in the Senate.

White House
The White House is the working place and residence of the United States President. It was built between 1792 and 1800 and has 132 rooms. There is also a swimming pool, movie theater, tennis court and bowling lane.

United States Capitol
A long mall connects the White House and the Capitol (home of the Congress). The House of Representatives is in the south wing and the Senate in the north wing. On Inauguration Day (January 20), the President holds his inaugural address on the steps of the Capitol and then usually parades from the Capitol to the White House.

Grammar Exercise on the Text
Passive Voice
We use the passive voice if we want to emphasize what has happened. Who/What caused the action is not so important (or not known). Rewrite the active sentences in passive voice and the passive sentences in active voice. Active: Many people visit Washington. Passive: Washington is visited by many people. Active: James Hoban built The White House. Passive: The White House was built by James Hoban. Active: Pennsylvania Avenue connects The White House and the Capitol. Passive: The White House and the Capitol are connected by Pennsylvania Avenue. Active: In the Capitol, workers are building a visitors center. Passive: In the Capitol, a visitors center is being built. Active: They will probably finish it in 2006. Passive: It will be probably finished in 2006.

History of Snowboarding
Highlight Tenses used in the Text Highlight all tenses Simple Past (Active) - action or situation in the past (emphasizes who did something) Simple Past (Passive) - action or situation in the past (emphasizes what was done) Present Perfect - action or situation over a period of time (from the past to the present) Simple Present - situation now Present Progressive - changing situation in the present

A Look at the Intriguing History of Snowboarding
By Keith Kingston To say who actually invented the sport of snowboarding would be impossible because people have always loved to slide down a snow-covered hill. Soaring through the snow on some kind of seat or board is nothing new. The ways to enjoy the snow are numerous, and people have devised ways to turn garbage can lids and cardboard into ‘snow boards’ to enjoy an afternoon frolic outdoors. The various ways to glide through snow have become more sophisticated and have evolved into using polished boards or skis in much the same manner as a surfboarder would ride a wave. There have been many attempts at developing a modern snowboard. In 1965, the ‘Snurfer’ (a word play on ‘snow’ and ‘surfer’) was developed as a child’s toy. Two skis were bound together and a rope was placed at the front end to afford control and stability. Over 500,000 ‘Snurfers’ were sold in 1966 but they were never seen as more than a child's plaything even though organized competitions began to take place. The year 1969 brought a slightly more sophisticated snowboard based on the principles of skiing combined with surfboard styling. The ‘Flying Yellow Banana’ was developed in 1977. This was nothing more than a plastic shell covered with a top surface like that of a skateboard, but at the time it was considered a major advance in the little known sport of snowboarding. The first national snowboard race was held in the area outside Woodstock and was known as ‘The Suicide Six.’ The race consisted of a steep downhill run called The Face in which the main goal was probably mere survival. Snowboarding continued to increase in popularity over the next several years. In 1985 the first magazine dedicated specifically to snowboarding hit the news stands with huge success and furthered the popularity of this exciting sport. Hoards of fans began to organize regional events and pretty soon snowboarding events were held in all parts of the world. In the year 1994 snowboarding was finally declared an Olympic event, much to the delight of fans. The not-so-new sport of snowboarding was finally recognized and meant a huge victory for serious snowboarders across the globe.

A collection of snowboarding tricks and stunts was released on video in 1996. Filmed in Alaska, the breathtaking beauty and captivating snowboarding techniques featured in the video exposed snowboarding to a new generation, and by 1998 snowboarding constituted almost 50% of all winter activity. Today, nearly all ski resorts accept snowboarders. There are still a few holding on to the past but this is unlikely to continue as the number of snowboarders continually increases. From the first crudely built snowboards to the advanced and specialized models available today, snowboarders have carried a ‘bad boy’ image. This rebel reputation is still common today in spite of the fact that snowboarding appeals to men, women, and children of all nationalities and social groups. At most major ski resorts you can find snowboarding gear, information, and lessons. Olympic and world wide snowboarding events are among the most popular of winter sports and the competition to be the best is fierce. Retailers nation wide and around the world carry many types of snowboards, and the choice in specially made snowboarding gear is immense. Snowboarders have participated in the X Games and even charity events such as Boarding for Breast Cancer. From its early meager beginnings snowboarding has progressed into a fully recognized sport, and large numbers of people are turning to snowboarding for adventure, fun, and professional recognition. Keith Kingston is a professional web publisher offering information on snowboards, skiing, ski vacations, snow removal and snowmobiles at all-4-snow.com Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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