Use of Passive
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.
Example: My bike was stolen.
In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it.
Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:
Example: A mistake was made.
In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone (e.g. You have made a mistake.).
Form of Passive
Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)
Example: A letter was written.
When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:
- the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence
- the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)
- the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)
|Simple Present||Active:||Rita||writes||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||is written||by Rita.|
|Simple Past||Active:||Rita||wrote||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||was written||by Rita.|
|Present Perfect||Active:||Rita||has written||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||has been written||by Rita.|
|Future I||Active:||Rita||will write||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||will be written||by Rita.|
|Hilfsverben||Active:||Rita||can write||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||can be written||by Rita.|
|Present Progressive||Active:||Rita||is writing||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||is being written||by Rita.|
|Past Progressive||Active:||Rita||was writing||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||was being written||by Rita.|
|Past Perfect||Active:||Rita||had written||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||had been written||by Rita.|
|Future II||Active:||Rita||will have written||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||will have been written||by Rita.|
|Conditional I||Active:||Rita||would write||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||would be written||by Rita.|
|Conditional II||Active:||Rita||would have written||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||would have been written||by Rita.|
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.
|Subject||Verb||Object 1||Object 2|
|Active:||Rita||wrote||a letter||to me.|
|Passive:||A letter||was written||to me||by Rita.|
|Passive:||I||was written||a letter||by Rita.|
As you can see in the examples, adding by Rita does not sound very elegant. That’s why it is usually dropped.
Personal and Impersonal Passive
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.
Example: They build houses. – Houses are built.
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.
Example: he says – it is said
Impersonal Passive is not as common in English as in some other languages (e.g. German, Latin). In English, Impersonal Passive is only possible with verbs of perception (e. g. say, think, know).
Example: They say that women live longer than men. – It is said that women live longer than men.
Although Impersonal Passive is possible here, Personal Passive is more common.
Example: They say that women live longer than men. – Women are said to live longer than men.
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.
Exercises on Passive (Form)
Exercises on Passive (Active → Passive)
Exercises on Passive (Active or Passive)
Tests on Passive
Prepara una presentación en el formato que tú quieras (sé creativo; utiliza tu imaginación), sobre el país de la Unión Europea que te haya correspondido e incluye los siguientes puntos:
- Nombre del país y su capital.
- Año de anexión a la Unión Europea.
- Ciudades importantes.
- Población y superficie.
- Países fronterizos.
- Lengua/s oficial/es.
- Sistema político. Líder político/monarca.
- Ríos y montañas importantes.
- Gastronomía, monumentos, personajes famosos, éxitos deportivos, arte, música,…
- Un poco de historia.
Visita las siguientes páginas web para obtener más información:
In the times of King Carlos III, the Spanish flag was white, with a Picture of the royal coat of arms in the centre. White was the colour of the Bourbon royal dynasty. In other countries where the Bourbons ruled, such as France and Italy, the national flags were also white.
In those times, warships and trading ships used flags to show their nationality, but many countries had flags with the same colours. It was difficult to see the differences at a distance or when it wasn’t windy. When people saw a strange ship, they didn’t know its nationality until the ship was very close, and that could be dangerous during a war!
King Carlos III decided to change his country’s flag. He organised a competition and people created 12 different designs. The king finally chose a red and yellow design because it was easy to see on ships from a distance. That is why red and yellow are the colours of Spain’s flag today.
- Who was the king of Spain on 2nd May 1808?
- Where was the Constitution of 1812 signed?
- Who became king after the War of Independence?
- Who was the first constitutional monarch? When did she rule? Which political group wanted her to have more power?
- When did the First Republic start? When did it finished?
- Who became king after the First Republic?
- When did Primo de Rivera establish a dictatorship?
- When did Alfonso XIII leave Spain?
- When did the Second Republic start? When did it finished?
- What happened in Spain during the Second Republic?
- When did the Spanish Civil War start? When did it end? Who won the war? What happened as a result?
- Who did the nationalists support during the Civil War?
- Who was General Franco? What form of government did he establish in Spain?
- When did Franco die?
- Who was Spain’s first president after Franco died?
- How do we call the years after Franco dictatorship and before the democratic elections?
- What happened on 23rd February 1981?
- Which political party won the elections in 1982?
- Which political party was in power in 1998?
- What style of buildings did the architect Antonio Gaudí design?
- What type of artist were Chillida and Gargallo?
- What style of painting was Salvador Dalí famous for using?
- Look for the definitions of the following concepts in a dictionary: military coup, republic, monarchy, dictatorship, democracy and strike.
Oficialmente, la nave Ancón inauguró el primer tránsito por el Canal el 15 de agosto de 1914, pero anteriormente, el primer tránsito que completó una nave a través del Canal tomó lugar como parte de una rutina de trabajo, el 7 de enero de 1914 cuando la grúa Alexander La Valley vino a través de las esclusas del Pacífico sin ningún tipo de ceremonia.
Pincha en el dibujo para visitar la página del Canal de Panama.
El Día Universal del Niño, que se celebra todos los años el 20 de noviembre, es un día dedicado a todos los niños y niñas del mundo.
Es un día de celebración por los avances conseguidos, pero sobre todo es un día para llamar la atención sobre la situación de los niños más desfavorecidos, dar a conocer los derechos de la infancia y concienciar a las personas de la importancia de trabajar día a día por su bienestar y desarrollo.
UNICEF trabaja todo el año para conseguir cambios reales en la vida de los niños y las niñas, y el Día Universal del Niño es un momento clave para sumarnos a este llamamiento mundial a favor de la infancia y de los niños más vulnerables.
Visita la página de UNICEF para aprender más...
Fuerzas de paz de las Naciones Unidas
Las Fuerzas de Paz de la ONU, popularmente conocidas como los cascos azules debido al color de los mismos, son cuerpos militares encargados de crear y mantener la paz en áreas de conflictos, monitorear y observar los procesos pacíficos y de brindar asistencia a ex combatientes en la implementación de tratados con fines pacíficos. Actúan por mandato directo del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU y forman parte miembros de las fuerzas armadas y policiales de los países miembros integrantes de las Naciones Unidas integrando una fuerza multinacional.
Pincha aquí para seguir leyendo.
Click here to read the article in English.
Friday, 14th November 2014
An American film company is making a film in your area next month and they are looking for extras. Write a letter to the film company explaining why you want to be an extra and saying why you might be suitable. Ask for more information about the film.
El Día Mundial de la Diabetes (DMD) es la campaña de concienciación sobre la diabetes más importante del mundo. Fue instaurado por la Federación Internacional de Diabetes (FID) y la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) en 1991, como respuesta al alarmante aumento de los casos de diabetes en el mundo. En 2007, Naciones Unidas celebró por primera vez este día tras la aprobación de la Resolución en diciembre de 2006 del Día Mundial de la Diabetes, lo que convirtió al ya existente Día Mundial de la Diabetes en un día oficial de la salud de la ONU.
Pincha aquí si quieres seguir leyendo...
- Which event marked the start of Modern Age? When did it happen?
- Which event marked the end of Modern Age? When did it happen?
- Which were the three groups in which society was divided during Modern Age?
- Which were the privileged social groups? And the ones who had to paid taxes?
- What was the name of the social and economic group that became a powerful group? Who was in this group?
- Which were the groups that had their own courts of law?
- Who were the ones who worked on the land?
- What are the important changes that occurred during the Modern Age?
- What did European monarchs do at the beginning of the 16th century?
- Write down the six things the Catholic Kings did during their reign?
- Who was the first King of the Habsburg dynasty in Spain? How was he called?
- Write down the name of the Habsburg kings in order.
- When did Felipe II rule Spain?
- What was the dynasty that replaced the Habsburgs? Who were the kings of this dynasty during the 18th century?
- Who was the King of Spain when the Royal Academies were created?
- Write three more things that Carlos III did to modernize Spain in the 18th century.
- Which are the main artistic styles of the Modern Age?
- Which artistic style uses lots of dramatic effects?
- In what artistic style did El Greco paint?
- When was the Golden Age in Spain? Write down the name of two writers and two painters of that period.