You are on page 1of 4

Extra Grammar 1

Passive Voice (Simple Present and Simple Past)


Use

When we want to talk about what people and things do, we use active verb forms such
as speak, felt, delivers, found etc.
When we want to talk about what happens to people and things what is done to
them we often use passive verb forms such as is / are spoken, was / were felt, is / are
delivered, was / were found, etc.

The object of an active verb corresponds to the subject of a passive verb.

Active: They printed these books in 2005.


OBJECT

Photocopiable Ediciones Santillana S.A. / Richmond 2011


Passive: These books were printed in 2005.
SUBJECT

In many cases, the subject of an active verb is not expressed in the corresponding
passive sentence (because it is obvious, because it is not known, etc.). If we decide to
mention it, we may then use an expression with by; the noun is called the agent.

Five criminals were arrested this morning in central London. (by the police)
AGENT

Form

We generally make passive forms of a verb by using tenses of the auxiliary be followed
by the past participle (pp) of the verb. The third column of the list of irregular verbs in
the Course Book shows past participles of some common verbs in English.

Tense Structure Example

Hundreds of emails are answered


Simple Present am / is / are + pp
daily in this office. (by your employees)

We werent invited to the party but


Simple Past was / were + pp
we decided to go anyway.

1
English Toolkit 1
Extra Grammar 1

Practice
1 Write five sentences in the Passive Voice using the words and phrases below.
a Christopher Columbus in 1492 discover America
b Leonardo Da Vinci sing Cars and Toy Story
c The Microsoft Corporation create Bad Romance
d Gutenberg film the Mona Lisa
e Lady Gaga paint Windows
f Disney Studios invent the first printing press

a America was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Photocopiable Ediciones Santillana S.A. / Richmond 2011


c

2 Read the following text extracts and underline the passive constructions.
a
There are many changes taking place at IBM
Corporation these days. More than 300 employees
were dismissed two days ago and some more

c
b When you walk into this Indian
w has
Actress and singer Gwyneth Paltro restaurant, the smell of delicious
r acc ount.
opened a Facebook and a Twitte coming from the kitchen guarantee
food
Her messages are read and answered a perfect dinner. Everything you can
s
almost instantly because eat at Mumbai Restaurant is coo
ked
with attention to detail and the exa
ct
combination of

3 W
 hy do you think the agent (s) or person (s) responsible for the action or event
is / are omitted in the text extracts above? Think of some reasons.
Extract A:
Extract B:
Extract C:

2
English Toolkit 1
Extra Grammar 1

4 Turn these sentences into the Passive Voice. Start with the underlined parts.
a Japanese tourists take thousands of pictures during their holiday trips.
Thousands of pictures are taken by Japanese tourists during their holiday trips.
b The Chinese invented paper.

c Almost 320,000 students learn Portuguese at school in Argentina.


d Apple designed and launched the first iPod in 2001.


e Millions of people download movies, songs and software from the Internet every
day.

Photocopiable Ediciones Santillana S.A. / Richmond 2011


f Henry Ford built one of the first car companies at the beginning of the 20th
century.

5 Read and fill in the blank with a, b, c, d or e.


We may omit the agent in sentence because it is obvious who is / are responsible
for the action or event described.

3
English Toolkit 1
Extra Grammar 1

Answer Key

1 b The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci.


c Windows was created / invented by the Microsoft Corporation.
d The printing press was created / invented by Gutenberg.
e Bad Romance is sung by Lady Gaga.
f Cars and Toy Story were filmed by Disney Studios.

2
Extract A: were dismissed; Extract B: are read and answered;
Extract C: is cooked

3 Extract A: because it is obvious or understood (by their employers)


Extract B: because it is obvious or understood (by her fans)

Photocopiable Ediciones Santillana S.A. / Richmond 2011


Extract C: because it is obvious or understood (by the cook / s)

4 b Paper was invented by the Chinese.


c Portuguese is learnt at school in Argentina by almost 320,000 students.
d The first iPod was designed and launched by Apple in 2001.
e Movies, songs and software are downloaded from the Internet (by
millions of people) every day.
f One of the first car companies was built at the beginning of the 20th
century by Henry Ford.

5
Sentence e

4
English Toolkit 1