The Passive Voice

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Information about The Passive Voice

Published on March 13, 2014

Author: Marimerry



IES El Señor de Bembibre ©English Dpt. M


John ate an apple was eaten by Example:

John gave Mary a ring A ring was given to Mary by John Mary was given a ring by John Watch this: Direct object: a ring Indirect object: Mary In English both can be the subject of the passive

 They did not paint the wall The wall was not painted ( by them ) Watch this: “did not = simple past negative > simple past negative of to be = was not / NO did not be!! They = plural but the wall = singular > was NO were!! A verb always agrees with the subject!

Steps to follow  Find the verb, check the tense!  Verb to be in the same tense  Main verb into past participle: +ed /3rd f irreg.

FORM The passive of an active tense is formed by putting the verb "to be" into the same tense as the active verb and adding the past participle of the active verb Active: "We keep the butter here“. Passive: "The butter is kept here".

The passive of continuous tenses. This sometimes seems difficult because it requires the present continuous form of "to be", which is not much used: Active: "They are repairing the bridge". Passive: "The bridge is being repaired".

Auxiliary + infinitive combinations These are made passive by using a passive infinitive: Active: "You must shut these doors". Passive: "These doors must be shut".

Tense/Verb Form Active Voice Passive Voice Simple Present keeps is kept Present continuous is keeping is being kept Simple past kept was kept Past continuous was keeping was being kept Present perfect has kept has been kept Past perfect had kept had been kept Future will keep will be kept Conditional would keep would be kept Perfect conditional would have kept would have been Present infinitive to keep to be kept Perfect infinitive to have kept to have been kept Present participle/gerund keeping being kept Perfect participle having kept having being kept Active tenses and their positive equivalents are:

USE The passive voice is used in English when it is more convenient or interesting to stress the thing done than the doer of it, or when the doer is unknown: "My watch was stolen". is much more usual than: "Thieves stole my watch".

Passive structures are also used when we want to talk about an action, but we are not interested in saying who (or what) did it: "Those pyramids were built around 400 A.D.". "Too many books have been written about the II World War".

Not all verbs can have passive forms. Intransitive verbs cannot become passive; they have no objects, and so there is nothing to become the subject of a passive sentence. Note that a sentence containing a direct and an indirect object, such as: "Someone gave her a bulldog". could have two passive forms: "She was given a bulldog". (more common). Or "A bulldog was given to her".

In a passive sentence the agent, or the doer of the action, is very often not mentioned. When the agent is mentioned it is preceded by "by": Active. "Who wrote it?". Passive. "Who was it written by?". When dealing with materials used, we have: Active: "Smoke filled the room". Passive: "The room was filled with smoke". PREPOSITIONS WITH PASSIVE VERBS

INFINITIVE CONSTRUCTIONS AFTER PASSIVE VERBS. Sentences of the type: "People think/consider/know etc. that he is …." have two possible passive forms: "It is thought/considered/known etc. that he is ....". "He is thought/considered/known etc. to be....".

Some transitive verbs cannot be used in the passive. Most of these are "stative verbs". Examples are : "fit, have, lack, resemble, suit". "They have a nice flat". * "A nice flat is had...." "I was having a bath". * "A bath was being had..". "My shoes don’t fit me". * "I am not fitted by my shoes".

If you have read the theory and watched this presentation carefully and still have doubts about this theme. PLEASE: ask your teacher for further explanation.

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