The Passive Voice
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The Passive Voice

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This is a powerpoint of the passive voice

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  • 1. THE PASSIVE VOICE Form and main uses Susana Antón
  • 2. The Passive voice
    • Passive forms:
      • 1.1 Active and passive structures
      • 1.2 Passive verb forms
      • 1.3 Verbs not used in the passive
      • 1.4 Passive agent
      • 1.5 Verbs with two objects
      • 1.6 Sentences using a clause as the object
      • 1.7 Sentences using an infinitive as the object
      • 1.8 Object complements
      • 1.9 GET
    • Uses of the passive
    • Meaning and semantic features
  • 3. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.1 Active and passive structures
    • Compare:
    • - They built this house in 1486 (active)
    • This house was built in 1486 (passive)
    • A friend of ours is repairing the roof (active)
    • The roof is being repaired by a friend of ours (passive)
    • This book will change your life (active)
    • Your life will be changed by this book (passive)
  • 4. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.2. Passive verb forms
    by Rita. can be written A letter Passive a letter. can write Rita Active Auxiliary verbs by Rita. will be written A letter Passive a letter. will write Rita Active Future by Rita. has been written A letter Passive a letter. has written Rita Active Present Perfect by Rita. was written A letter Passive a letter. wrote Rita Active Simple past by Rita. is written A letter Passive a letter. writes Rita Active Simple present Object Verb Subject Tense
  • 5. 1. Passive forms 1.2. Passive verb forms a letter. would write Rita Active Conditional I by Rita. would be written A letter Passive by Rita. would have been written A letter Passive a letter. would have written Rita Active Conditional II by Rita. will have been written A letter Passive a letter. will have written Rita Active Future Perfect by Rita. had been written A letter Passive a letter. had written Rita Active Past Perfect by Rita. was being written A letter Passive a letter. was writing Rita Active Past Progressive by Rita. is being written A letter Passive a letter. is writing Rita Active Present Progressive Object Verb Subject Tense
  • 6. 1. Passive forms
    • UNUSUAL CASES:
    • Future progressive passives (will be being + pp)
    • Perfect progressive passive (has been being + pp)
    • TWO-WORD VERBS :
    • - She likes being looked at
    • - I need to be taken care of .
  • 7. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.3. Verbs not used in the passive
    • Intransitive verbs: die or arrive.
    • Transitive verbs : “stative verbs”: have, fit, lack, resemble, suit.
    • They have a nice house. (BUT NOT A nice house is had by them).
    • My shoes don’t fit me (BUT NOT I’m not fitted by my shoes)
    • - Prepositional verbs: agree with, walk into
    • Everybody agreed with me (BUT NOT I was agreed with by everybody)
  • 8. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.4 Passive agent
    • By
    • Aprox. 20%
    • Examples:
      • All the trouble was caused by your mother .
      • I was shocked by your attitude .
    • Worried, frigthened, etc…
      • We were worried about/by her silence.
    • With:
      • He was killed by a heavy stone.
      • He was killed with a heavy stone.
  • 9. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.5 Verbs with two objects: GIVE, SEND, SHOW, etc.
    • ACTIVE :
    • 1. Verb + indirect object + direct object
    • She gave her sister the car
    • 2. Verb + direct object + preposition + indirect object
    • She gave the car to her sister
    • PASSIVE :
    • Indirect object becomes subject of passive verb
    • Her sister was given the car
    • 2 . Direct object becomes subject of passive verb.
    • The car was given to her sister
    • Explain,suggest and describe can’t be used in structure 1:
    • The problem was explained to the children (BUT NOT The children were explained the problem)
    • A meeting place was suggested to us (BUT NOT We were suggested a meeting place)
  • 10. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.6 Sentences using a clause as the object
    • They all thought that she was a spy (BUT NOT That she was a spy was thought by them all)
    • The newspapers say that his company is in trouble (BUT NOT That his company is in trouble is said ….)
    • IT: preparatory subject for a clause
    • It was thought that she was a spy.
    • It is said that his company is in trouble.
  • 11. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.7 Sentences using an infinitive as the object
    • Active :
    • They thought her TO be a spy
    • They told us not TO come back
    • Passive :
    • She was thought TO be a spy
    • We were told not TO come back
    • SAY
    • His company is said to be in trouble
    • (BUT NOT They say his company to be in trouble)
  • 12. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.7 Sentences using an infinitive as the object
    • HEAR, SEE, MAKE and HELP
    • Active : without TO
    • I saw him come out of the office
    • They made him tell them everything
    • Passive : with TO
    • He was seen to come out of the office
    • He was made to tell them everything.
  • 13. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.7 Sentences using an infinitive as the object
    • Perfect, progressive and passive infinitives
    • He is believed to have crossed the frontier last night.
    • I was told to be waiting outside the station at 6 o’clock.
    • Their budget was expected to be reduced. (DOUBLE PASSIVE)
    • Exceptions: wanting and liking
    • Everybody wanted Doris to be the manager.
    • (BUT NOT Doris was wanted to be the manager)
  • 14. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.8 Object complements
    • REGARD, CONSIDER, SEE, etc.
    • ACTIVE:
    • Queen Victoria considered him a genius .
    • Most people saw him as a sort of clown.
    • PASSIVE:
    • He was considered a genius by Queen Victoria.
    • He was seen as a sort of clown .
  • 15. 1. Passive forms
    • 1.9 GET
    • Get + past participle = be + past participle
    • My watch got broken while I was playing with the children
    • I never get invited to parties
    • Structure less often used to talk about longer, more deliberate, planned actions:
    • Our house was built in 1827 (BUT NOT Our house got built …)
    • Parliament was opened on Tuesday (BUT NOT Parliament got opened ….)
  • 16. 2. Uses of the passive voice
    • Change of focus :
    • The water in the nearby pool reflected her figure>Her figure was reflected in the nearby pool.
    • The employee finished the report in two hours>The report was finished in two hours.
  • 17.
    • Obvious or self-evident agent:
    • The streets are swept everyday (by the sweepers)
    • The suspect was arrested (by the police)
  • 18.
    • Unknown agent:
    • Helen’s car has been stolen.
    • I was advised to get a visa in advance.
  • 19.
    • Generalized or indefinite agent:
    • The Mona Lisa can be seen in Paris<People can see the Mona Lisa in Paris.
    • The effects of the climate change can be seen everywhere<One can see the effects of the climate change everywhere.
  • 20.
    • Making the action impersonal :
    • Your application for the job has been rejected.
    • A great effort is to be made to reach the cup semi-finals.
  • 21.
    • For grammatical reasons:
      • Avoid changing the subject
    • When Lee arrived at the office, she gave him a present>When Lee arrived at the office, he was given a present.
  • 22.
      • End-focus and end-weight principles:
      • I am annoyed by Stephen wanting to tell everyone what to do.
      • This film was presented by animation master Murasaki and the Film department of the Museum of Modern Art.
  • 23.
    • Causative have/get in colloquial contexts:
    • I got a haircut done.
    • The politicians had their pictures taken.
  • 24. Uses of the passive voice across registers
    • Child benefit workers kept out of loop on data security.
    • ‘ Fatal gaps’ in rescue services training blamed for drowning.
  • 25.  
  • 26. Meaning and semantic features
    • We may find different kinds of passives according to semantic features.
    • Some of them will express the passive voice literally while others will not. Meaning and grammar do not always go together.
    • This mainly depends on the lexical verb: not all active verbs have ‘active’ meanings, as suffer or receive
  • 27.
    • She received a letter
    • Suddenly the door opened (ergative verbs)
    • Some verbs have similar meanings in active and in passive voice, worry/to be worried and drown/to be drowned
  • 28.
    • The different types of passive voice can be classified as follows:
      • Agentive passive
      • Her sister is called Anne
      • Couple found dead (by passerby)
      • Non-agentive passive/middle voice with ergative verbs
      • The ice-cream melted
      • Glass breaks easily
  • 29.
      • Reflexive passive or pseudo passive (get+participle)
      • I got dressed in a minute
      • Durative passive (become+participle)
      • Soon, the news became known.
      • Quasi-passive (adjective as participle)
      • He is (really) worried about the environment
  • 30. Exercices
    • Domino. Match each active sentence with its corresponding passive one:
      • Rita writes a letter > A letter is writen by Rita
      • Rita will write a letter > A letter will be written by Rita
    • Build passive sentences. Each group is given a list of active sentences. The corresponding passive sentence will be given word per word written in different pieces of paper. They have to find all parts of the sentence and build it.
  • 31. Bibliography
    • Quirk, Greenbaum.1076. A University Grammar of English. Ed Longman
    • Biber, Conrad, Leech.2003. Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Ed Longman
    • Thomson, Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar . OUP
    • Michael, Swan. 1997. Practical English Usage. Oxford.