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 THE “PASSIVE VOICE”

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PostSubject: THE “PASSIVE VOICE”   Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:21 pm

1– WHAT IS THE “PASSIVE VOICE” ?

The passive voice is a mode of sentence in English.In this passive mode the logical subject of the sentence is deleted.


For example:

a- ”My friends send me e-mails everyday”. active sentence:In this sentence we know the subject;who sends me e-mails?:my friends.

b- “E-mails are sent to me everyday”.—–passive sentence:In this sentence the logical doer of the action is absent.Who sends me e-mails? we don’t know!It can be my friends or my brother or me students…..

2- HOW DO WE BUILD A PASSIVE SENTENCE?

That’s very simple!Just have a look at the examples (a) and (b) above and you will have an idea.

In the first ,active,sentence you have ”send“. And in the second one you have”are sent”

LOOK AT THIS:

1- Chomsky writes many articles on politics.
subject+ verb Hidden Object

This sentence is “active“ Who writes articles? Chomsky:
we have the doer of the action.

NOW LOOK AT THIS PASSIVE ONE:

2- Many articles are written on politics.
subject + verb + ………

Now in this second,”passive” sentence,who writes articles on politics?we don’t know!

The logical subject is deleted-this means the real person (thing) who is doing the action is not clear in the sentence.

3- HOW ABOUT THE VERB?

What changes can you see on the verb?very clear I suppose!
look again in the first,active sentence1,we have “writes“in the simple present.

But, in the second one,passive sentence2, we have “are written”
What happens then?Nothing dangerous!

We simply add the verb”to be” in the tense of the active verb.And we put the main verb in the past participle.

In the “active” example1 above the tense of the verb” writes” is the simple present.That’s simply why we have the verb ”to be” in the simple present”are” in the “passive” example2.

CONCLUSION

To move from an active into a passive sentence, simply do this:

1- The object of the active sentence- many articles- becomes subject of the passive one.

2- The subject of the active sentence- Chomsky – is deleted.

3- Insert the verb to be in the tense of the active verb.

4- Put the main verb in the past participle.

1- SIMPLE PRESENT: People pollute the planet.
1a- The planet is polluted (by people).

2- THE PRESENT PROGRESSIVE: People are producing more waste.
2a- More waste is being produced (by people).

3- THE SIMPLE PAST: Husband stripped women of their rights in the past.
3a- Women were stripped of their rights (by…….).

4- PAST PROGRESSIVE: In the twentieth century Western countries were making huge amounts of nuclear weapons.
4a- Huge amounts of weapons were being made in the twentieth century (by Western countries).

5- FUTURE: The school will award a prize to Rashid.
5a-Rashid will be awarded a prize.

6- THE PRESENT PERFECT: The government has taken many measures to reduce unemployment.
6a- Many measures have been taken to reduce unemployment.

THE PASSIVE WITH MODALS:

REMEMBER THAT THE VERB AFTER THE MODAL IS ALWAYS IN THE INFINITIVE

7- We should minimize pollution.
7a- Pollution should be minimized.

8- We must respect the rules of our school.
8a- The rules of our school must be respected.

YOU CAN DO THE SAME WITH ALL THE OTHER MODAL VERBS LIKE: can – may -could- ought to – have to-must-will ….

SO GO BACK AGAIN TO THE EXAMPLES AND REMEMBER 5 THINGS:

1- The subject of the active sentence becomes an agent in the passive one: (by……….).

2- The object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive one.

3- The verb “to be” is not the passive sentence; we ADD it and we ADD it in the tense and form of the original main verb of the active sentence.

Remember these!

Present tenses
am/is/are + past participle
am/is/are + being + past participle
have/has been the past participle

Past tenses
was/were + past participle
was/were + being + past participle
had been + past participle Future tenses

Future tenses
will be + past participle
will have + been + past participle
is/are going to be + past participle

Present/Future modals
modal + be + past participle

Past modals
modal + have been + past participle
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