Do you want to practise and improve your ability to use passives correctly? Would you like some FREE feedback on, and support with, your grammar?
I've copied-and-pasted below some exercises that I've put together over the last couple of years, based on passive verb forms that have appeared in texts which my students and I have focused on in class. The introductions to each of these exercises may or may not be very helpful (given that you haven't read the text from which the example sentences are taken), but, for what they're worth, they're there; either ignore the introductions and just go ahead and do the exercises, or try reading the introductions if you think they might be helpful.
Do only some of the exercises; or do them all. It's up to you. Then post your work here on this thread and I'll give you some FREE feedback.
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1. Grammar: passive voice. Look at the examples of PASSIVE verbs in paragraphs 1, 3 and 9. We use PASSIVE verbs rather than ACTIVE verbs when the "agent" (whoever does the action) is unimportant, unknown or obvious.
Now make PASSIVE sentences from the following ACTIVE sentences, using "by" to indicate the agent whenever it's helpful to do so:
i. A member of the public mistook Sir Anthony Hopkins for a homeless man.
ii. William Shakespeare wrote "King Lear".
iii. The BBC will broadcast Richard Eyre's version of "King Lear".
iv. People drink a lot of tea in England.
v. Robots will take over the world within the next decade.
vi. We will have to cancel next Monday’s meeting.
vii. Somebody painted graffiti on the wall of the train station.
viii. A painter is going to redecorate our house while we’re away on holiday.
ix. A tattoo artist has tattooed a bottle of Jack Daniel's on Sharon's arm.
x. Passengers must show their passports to the immigration officer.
xi. WARNING! The farmer who owns this farm will shoot trespassers.
xii. My mother bore my sister and me in London.
xiii. The founders of the company founded the company 10 years ago.
xiv. Antonio Meucci patented his invention of the telephone in 1871.
xv. Builders are building a bridge over the river.
2. Grammar: passive voice. There are several examples of passive verbs in the article (marked in bold). Why aren't these verbs written in the active voice? What are the names of the verb tenses of the passive verbs in the article? Look at the final example in the text: "The diamond will be examined by a team of experts" - why do we use "by" in this example?
Now transform the following (active) sentences into passive sentences (and use "by" only when appropriate):
i. A diamond miner discovered the "Lesedi La Rona" diamond in Botswana.
ii. An auctioneer auctioned "Lesedi La Rona" at Southeby's in London.
iii. Glamourous movie stars wear diamonds to awards ceremonies.
iv. William Shakespeare wrote "Romeo and Juliet".
v. My grandmother's doctor has prescribed painkillers for her knee.
vi. Builders built the Freedom Tower in New York after terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers.
vii. A plumber is repairing the burst pipes in the bathroom.
viii. Next week my dentist will take out Jeremy's wisdom tooth.
ix. Tomorrow afternoon the gardener will be mowing the lawn.
x. Sharon drank three bottles of Jack Daniel's last night and doctors had to pump her stomach.
3. Grammar: look at the examples of the passive voice in the text (highlighted in bold). Answer the following questions:
· Why is the passive used in these instances, instead of the active voice?
· How do we form the passive voice of a verb?
· When we use a passive why do we sometimes follow it with “by…”?
Now make sentences with passive verbs:
i. John F Kennedy / shoot / 1963
ii. Thriller / perform / Michael Jackson
iii. The twin towers in New York / destroy / Al-Qaeda
iv. Titanic / direct / James Cameron
vii. Bread / sell / bakery shop
viii. Scotch whisky / drink / all over the world
ix. SEAT cars / manufacture / near Martorell
x. Romeo and Juliet / write / Shakespeare
4. Grammar: passives of supposition. Look at the first sentence in the text marked in bold.
“The K5 robot is thought to have been defeated by stairs.”
This means “Investigators think the K5 robot was defeated by stairs.”
So, in this type of passive sentence (passives of supposition), an INFINITIVE PERFECT verb refers to a PAST action/situation. Now look at the second example from the text:
“The K5 robot is not believed to be suspicious.”
means “People/the authorities do not believe the K5 robot is suspicious.”
So, in passives of supposition, an INFINITIVE verb refers to a PRESENT action/situation.
Now transform the following sentences using passives of supposition:
i. The K5’s designers say it is packed with sensors.
ii. The authorities believe the K5 fell down the steps.
--> The K5 is believed to…
iii. Some people allege that a K5 in California participated in a carpark altercation.
--> A K5 in California is alleged…
iv. Some journalists allege that Russian hackers manipulated the 2016 US election.
v. Some Americans believe Donald Trump Jr had a meeting with Russian spies.
vi. People believe President Trump has a net worth of $8 billion.
vii. Conspiracy theorists suspect that Neil Armstrong didn’t walk on the Moon.
viii. Fans who’ve met her say Lady Gaga is not very friendly.
ix. Anyone who’s been to Iran claims it’s a nice country to visit or live in.
x. Archeologists believe the rocks used to build Stonehenge came from north Wales.
xi. Most commentators accept that Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time.
xii. Palaeontologists suppose dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid hitting the Earth.
xiii. Many people say Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy.
--> Lee Harvey Oswald is…
xiv. Many scientists consider climate change constitutes our most important problem.
xv. Experts estimate that the Egyptian pyramids are 5,000 years old.
xvi. Art historians recognise the Mona Lisa is Da Vinci’s greatest piece of work.
xvii. Art historians reckon Francesco del Giocondo’s wife modelled for the Mona Lisa.
5. Grammar: passives of supposition about past actions. Look at the two sentences in the text which are highlighted in bold. This type of passive structure is common in journalism when information is credible but not 100% certain to be true.
So, “The woman is said to have made the attempt on board a flight from Changsha to Sanya” means “Somebody said (to the journalist) that the woman made the attempt on board a flight from Changsha to Sanya.” (The INFINITIVE PERFECT represents a PAST action/situation)
Now use the following information to make passive sentences making suppositions about past actions:
i. We know that Winston Churchill smoked Cuban cigars.
ii. We know that Da Vinci made detailed designs of helicopters.
iii. Most people believe Al-Qaeda carried out the 9-11 attacks.
--> The 9-11 attacks are believed to…
iv. Historical records say that Christopher Wren designed St Paul’s Cathedral.
v. Nathan’s hotdogs statistics report that Joey Chestnut ate 68 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
vi. Many insiders understand that Elvis Presley had an obsession with guns.
vii. People who were there say that Queen’s final concert with Freddie Mercury was amazing.
viii. People who knew Bruce Lee report that he was extremely fit when he died.
ix. Ex-prisoners from Guantanamo Bay allege that US soldiers were very cruel to them.
x. Palaeontologists believe a huge asteroid struck the Earth 65 million years ago.
xi. Seismologists estimate the supervolcano in Yellowstone Park last erupted 7,000 years ago.
6. Grammar. Look at the words that are marked in bold in the article above: these verbs are all in passive voice.
We use the passive voice rather than the active voice when the "agent" of the verb is either obvious, or unimportant, or much less important than the verb.
Now transform the sentences from the text into active voice sentences, as in the examples:
e.g. CCTV has been released
--> The police have released CCTV.
e.g. One of the first relay crimes to be caught on camera.
--> One of the first relay crimes cameras have caught.
i. Two men are seen on the footage.
ii. The boxes are designed to receive a signal.
iii. The signal can be picked up through walls.
iv. The vehicle's systems are tricked.
v. One of the men can be seen driving off in the car.
vi. The stolen car has still not been recovered.
vii. It's important the public are reassured.
7. Grammar: past passive verbs. Look at the three examples of PAST PASSIVE verbs in paragraph 3 and answer this question: who performed those three actions?
We use PASSIVE forms of the verb when the person (or people) who does the action is obvious or unknown or unimportant.
Now complete these PAST PASSIVE sentences:
i. The movie "Titanic" ………. (release) in 1997.
ii. "Romeo and Juliet" ………. (base) on "Palace of Pleasure" by William Painter.
iii. Abraham Lincoln ………. (shoot) at Ford's Theatre, Washington, DC.
iv. St Paul's Cathedral ………. (build) 1697 by Sir Christopher Wren.
v. The Beatles album "Abbey Road" ………. (record) at Abbey Road Studios in London.
vi. Facebook ……… (found) three years before Twitter.
vii. The planet Pluto ………. (discover) in 1930.
8. Grammar: "passive voice" verbs. Look at the examples of VERBS in the text which are in the PASSIVE VOICE. We use PASSIVE VERBS when we want to emphasize the action more than the person who does the action, or when it's obvious (or not important) who does the action.
Now change the following sentences from PASSIVE into ACTIVE VOICE (as shown in the example):
e.g. "The Gatwick Ambulance Service was called at 5.18pm."
-->"Someone who works at the airport called the Gatwick Ambulance service at 5.18pm.
i. "The baggage handler was freed after a short while."
ii. "He is employed by Dnata."
iii. "The injured man was transported to St George's Hospital."
iv. "We can confirm that a Dnata UK employee was injured this afternoon."
v. "Our plane was taxied to the runway."
vi. "This person was trapped under the wheel."
9. Grammar: passive voice. We often use the passive voice to emphasize more the action (i.e., the verb), and de-emphasize the agent that does the action, perhaps because the agent is obvious or unknown or unimportant. And sometimes the passive voice is necessary because the active voice equivalent is relatively more complicated.
The following passive sentences are taken from the news article. Change them into the active voice, and decide whether the active sentence sounds as logical as the passive one; in some cases you’ll have to suppose the agent of the verb.
i. Flight 2276 was consumed by black smoke and fire at McCarran Airport.
ii. Passengers and crew members were forced to flee from the aircraft on emergency slides.
iii. 14 people were taken to Sunrise Hospital.
iv. Flights to Las Vegas were delayed by The FAA for more than two hours.
v. One of the runways was able to be reopened 2½ hours after the fire.
vi. The BA spokesman said that more information would be released later.
10. Grammar: be+to be+PAST PARTICIPLE for future scheduled, planned, organized events. Look at this sentence from paragraph 4: "Chloe Ayling said she was to be sold online." We use this sentence structure to refer to plans, schedules and intentions. Complete the following sentences, using be+to be+PAST PARTICIPLE of one of the verbs in this list:
bear marry hold hold hold hold operate try remove release service
i. The new James Bond film ………. just before Christmas, but the premier was postponed.
ii. Harry and Meghan are in love. They ……….. later this year.
iii. Lukasz Herba ………. in court for kidnapping later today.
iv. Cynthia was pregnant two years ago and her baby ………. in the summer, but he was in fact born prematurely.
v. The American football Superbowl ………. in January.
vi. The next Olympic Games ………. in Tokyo.
vii. After Sydney in 2000, the next Olympic Games ………. in Athens in 2004.
viii. The next US Presidential election ………. in 2020.
ix. The mechanic had said my car ………. 2 months, but I forgot to take it into the garage.
x. When did your dentist say your wisdom teeth ………. ?
xi. Jeremy is in a lot of pain. His knee ………. next week.
11. Grammar: "will+PASSIVE INFINITIVE" and "may+PASSIVE INFINITIVE". Look at these two sentences (from paragraphs 2 & 5):
(a) Australian supermarkets will be fined if they supply single-use plastic bags.
(b) We understand that some customers may be frustrated by this change.
Now make similar sentences, using either "may" or "will" + PASSIVE INFINITIVE:
arrest arrest attack burn confiscate dump
impeach pick surprise use
i. If you go walking in the forest in Canada, you .......... by a bear.
ii. By 2022 another 24 million tonnes of plastic ………. in the oceans.
iii. You ………. to know that the Sun doesn't actually rise in the east.
iv. If you're carrying water or scissors when you go through airport security, they ………. .
v. Anybody who goes through airport security carrying a hidden gun ………. .
vi. Never make jokes about bombs when you're in an airport, otherwise you ………. .
vii. Hillary Clinton's supporters hope that President Trump ………. .
viii. If you're not careful enough while you're cooking, you ………. .
ix. Within the next 50 years, all the crude oil under the ground ………. .
x. When you're a tourist in a foreign city centre, one risk is that your pocket ………. .