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The passive

Conditionals

In an active sentence, the subject is the
person or thing that performs the action:
j Masked thieves stole a valuable painting
from the museum last night.

Sentences with if are used to express
possibilities:

When you make this into a passive sentence,
the object of the verb becomes the subject:
j A valuable painting was stolen from the
museum last night.

if clause present tense;
main clause future tense

The passive is formed with the auxiliary
verb be and the past participle of the verb:
j The painting is valued at 2 million dollars.
j The lock had been broken and the cameras
had been switched off.
j Other museums have been warned to take
extra care.
j Staff at the museum will be questioned
by police tomorrow.
j Museum security is to be improved.
Use the passive:

when you do not know who performed
the action, or when this information is not
important. It is common in formal writing,
for example scientific writing:
j The liquid is heated to 60 and then filtered.
If you want to mention who performed
the action, you use by at the end of the
sentence:
j The theft is being investigated by the police.
N

when you want to save new or important
information until the end of the sentence
for emphasis:
j The picture was painted by Constable.
It is possible to put a verb that has two
objects into the passive:
j (active) The director told the staff the
news this morning.
j (passive) The staff were told the news
this morning by the director.
Some verbs cannot be used in the passive,
and this is shown at the entries.

First conditional

used to talk about the consequence of a
possible action:
j If I write my essay this afternoon, I will have
time to go out tonight. (it is still morning,
and it is quite possible that I will do this.)

Second conditional
if clause past simple;
main clause conditional tense
used to talk about the consequences of a
hypothetical action:
j If I wrote my essay this afternoon,
I would have time to go out tonight.
(it is still morning, but I think it is less likely
that I will do this.)

Third conditional
if clause past perfect;
main clause conditional perfect tense
used to talk about the possible consequence of
an action that did not happen:
j If I had written my essay this afternoon,
I would have had time to go out tonight.
(it is now evening, and I haven’t written my
essay: it is now impossible for me to go out.)

Zero conditional
Sometimes sentences with if express certainty
rather than possibility. The zero conditional
is used to talk about something that is always
true, or that was always true in the past:
j If you mix blue and red, you get purple.
(present simple in both parts of the sentence)
j If I asked her to come with us, she always said
no. (past simple in both parts of the sentence)

Conditionals

23/10/2007

The passive

ALD7 House R033 Passive_Conditional.qxd