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Theory Introduction


1. Voice is the grammatical category of the verb which indicates the relations between the action and its agent. It shows whether the subject is the doer of the action or whether it’s acted upon.

The Passive Voice shows that the person or thing denoted by subject is acted upon, i.e. the subject is the recipient of the action.

Noun + be (in the correct form) + Past Participle (+ by/with + noun)

Tense Indefinite Continuous Perfect
Present I am He is told You are We They I am He is being told You are We They I have He has been told You have We They
Past I was He was You were told We They I was He was You were being We told They I He had been We told You They
Future I, we shall He You will be told They   __   I, we shall/ He will have You been told They

Note: Future Continuous, Present Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous, Future Perfect Continuous are not found in the Passive Voice. We normally use the forms of the Future Simple and the Perfect Tenses instead.

The machines are controlled by computer.

The window was broken.

The work will be done tomorrow.

The bridge is being repaired.

The injured player was being carried off the field.

Our work has been finished.

The car was three years old but hadn’t been used very much.

The house will have been built by next month.

2.The interrogative form is formed by placing the (first) auxiliary verb before the subject of the sentence.

The negative form is formed by placing the particle “not” after the first auxiliary verb.

The work will be done tomorrow.

Will the work be done tomorrow?

The work will not be done tomorrow.

3.The Passive Voice tends to be used in preference to the active voice in the following situations:

1) When the doer of the action is unknown or indefinite:

The minister was murdered.

2) When the main interest of the speakers is on the action itself and not particularly on the doer of the action:

The house next door has been bought (by a Mr Jones).

3) When the doer of the action is obvious and for that reason does not need to be named:

The streets are swept every day.

4) When the speaker wishes to make a statement or less direct for reasons of tact, diplomacy, discretion, etc. as the passive makes it less clear who the actual doer is:

All school outings have been cancelled.

5) In official notices, instructions, prohibitions, to make them sound impersonal and thus more polite:

Breakfast is served from 6.00 to 10.30.

6) To put emphasis on the agent.

The Pyramids were built by the ancient Egyptians.

4. Only transitive verbs (verbs with an object) can be used in the passive: carry, open, take, attend, answer, follow, join, watch, etc.

All the furniture was taken out of the room.

Note: Some transitive verbs such as have, fit, suit, resemble, lack, like, get, become, seem, rain, snow, come, fly, own, belong, disappear cannot be made passsive.

5.Participles like amazed, broken, interested, pleased, worried – can be used either as adjectives or past participles in the passive. If these participles are used as adjectives, they cannot be turned into the active.

The first time I saw the building I was amazed. (“amazed” is used as an adjective)

I was amazed by your work. (“amazed” is used as a past participle – Your work amazed me).

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 608

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