The passive voice


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The passive voice

  1. 1. THE PASSIVE VOICEPASSIVE TENSES AND ACTIVE EQUIVALENTSNotice that the tense of the verb to be in the passive voice is the same as the tenseof the main verb in the active voice.Example: to keepTENSE / VERB FORM ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICESimple present keeps is keptPresent continuous is keeping is being keptSimple past kept was keptPast continuous was keeping was being keptPresent perfect have kept have been keptPast perfect had kept had been keptfuture will keep will be keptConditional present would keep would be keptConditional past would have kept would have been keptpresent infinitive to keep to be keptperfect infinitive to have kept to have been keptpresent keeping being keptparticiple/gerundperfect participle having kept having been keptExample sentences:Active: I keep the butter in the fridge.Passive: The butter is kept in the fridge.Active: They stole the painting.Passive: The painting was stolen.Active: They are repairing the road.Passive: The road is being repaired.Active: Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.Passive: Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.Active: A dog bit him.Passive: He was bitten by a dog.THE PASSIVE VOICEPASSIVE, FORMThe passive voice in English is composed of two elements : the appropriate form ofthe verb to be + the past participle of the verb in question:
  2. 2. Subject verb to be past participleThe house was built ...Example: to cleanSubject verb to be past participleSimple present:The house is cleaned every day.Present continuous:The house is being cleaned at the moment.Simple past:The house was cleaned yesterday.Past continuous:The house was being cleaned last week.Present perfect:The house has been cleaned since you left.Past perfect:The house had been cleaned before their arrival.Future:The house will be cleaned next week.Future continuous:The house will be being cleaned tomorrow.Present conditional:The house would be cleaned if they had visitors.Past conditional:The house would have been cleaned if it had been dirty.NOTE: to be born is a passive form and is most commonly used in the past tense:I was born in 1976. When were you born?BUT: Around 100 babies are born in this hospital every week.
  3. 3. Infinitive form: infinitive of to be + past participle: (to) be cleanedThis form is used after modal verbs and other verbs normally followed by aninfinitive, e.g.You have to be tested on your English grammarJohn might be promoted next year.She wants to be invited to the party.Gerund or -ing form: being + past participle: being cleanedThis form is used after prepositions and verbs normally followed by a gerundExamples:a. Most film stars hate being interviewed.b. I remember being taught to drive.c. The children are excited about being taken to the zoo.NOTE: Sometimes the passive is formed using the verb to getinstead of the verb tobe:a. He got arrested for dangerous driving.b. Theyre getting married later this year.c. Im not sure how the window got broken.THE PASSIVE VOICEPASSIVE, FUNCTIONThe passive voice is used to show interest in the person or object that experiencesan action rather than the person or object that performs the action, e.g. • The passive is used ...: We are interested in the passive, not who uses it. • The house was built in 1654: We are interested in the house, not the builder. • The road is being repaired: We are interested in the road, not the people repairing it.In other words, the most important thing or person becomes the subject of thesentence.Sometimes we use the passive voice because we dont know or cannot express whoor what performed the action: • I noticed that a window had been left open • Every year people are killed on our roads.If we want to say who or what performs the action, we use the preposition by: • "A Hard Days Night" was written by the Beatles • ET was directed by Spielberg
  4. 4. The passive voice is often used in formal or scientific texts: • A great deal of meaning is conveyed by a few well-chosen words. • Our planet is wrapped in a mass of gases. • Waste materials are disposed of in a variety of ways. • THE PASSIVE VOICE • GET / HAVE SOMETHING DONE • This construction is passive in meaning. It may describe situations where we want someone else to do something for us. • • Examples: • a. I must get / have my hair cut. b. When are you going to get that window mended? c. Were having the house painted. • If the verb refers to something negative or unwanted, it has the same meaning as a passive sentence: • d. Jim had his car stolen last night. (= Jims car was stolen) e. They had their roof blown off in the storm. (= Their roof was blown off in the storm) • The construction can refer to the completion of an activity, especially if a time expression is used: • f. Well get the work done as soon as possible. g. Ill get those letters typed before lunchtime. • In all these sentences, we are more interested in the result of the activity than in the person or object that performs the activity. • X NEEDS DOING • In the same way, this construction has a passive meaning. The important thing in our minds is the person or thing that will experience the action, e.g. • a. The ceiling needs painting (= the ceiling needs to be painted) • b. My hair needs cutting (= my hair needs to be cut) PASSIVE VOICE
  5. 5. Put the sentences into passive voice.1 They built these houses in 1902..2 She bakes a cake every Sunday..3 He broke the vase yesterday..4 I clean the shoes every Friday..5 We wrote the exercise an hour ago..6 They use this road very often..7 Thieves stole his car..8 They cancelled all the flights..9 Brian told the truth..10 She always loads the dishwasher..11 He sometimes does the shopping..12 The ambulance took Peter to hospital..PASSIVE - present and past tense
  6. 6. 1 He (offer) a new job last week.2 The bridge (blow off) yesterday.3 This novel (write) by Hemingway.4 Flies (catch) by spiders.5 All the trees (cut) down yesterday.6 We (tell) to go home now.7 Their purse (steal) yesterday night in the disco.8 Rain (hold) up by fog.9 He (throw) out of the bar a week ago.10 Pigs (use) to find truffles.11 The old theatre (reopen) last Friday.12 She (ask) about the accident by the policeyesterday.13 Rotten eggs (throw) at him last month in Bristol.14 Mice (catch) by cats.15 I (often / ask) for her address. PASSIVE
  7. 7. 1 English (speak) all over the world. (Present tense)2 This quarrel (forget) in a few years time. (Futuretense)3 My pencil case (steal). (Present perfect)4 We (never / beat) at badminton. (Present perfect)5 This shirt (make) in France. (Past tense)6 The dogs (keep) in house. (Present tense)7 Her new book (publish) next month. (Future tense)8 Milk (use) to make butter and cheese. (Presenttense)9 They (take) to school. (Past tense)10 Not a sound (hear). (Past tense)11 Some ink (spill) on the carpet. (Present perfect)12 The thieves by the police. (Past tense)13 The homework (correct) by the teacher. (Futuretense)14 Her ring (find) under the bed. (Past tense)15 I (offer) an interesting job. (Past tense)