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Passive

Summary of Practices

 

Passive Diagnostic: identify specific points that need review

flood

Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced

Passive—Focus on the Object

Receiver as Subj: place focus on the receiver of the action

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Baby on a scale

My sister had (bore) a baby.

A baby was born.

The doctor helped the baby.

The baby was helped by the doctor.

*What was happened?

 

Project as Subj: place focus on the collective work (when the agents are too many to list)

Intermediate–Advanced ESL & Native Speakers

DNA gene coding

The human genome is being mapped by scientists. (too many to mention)

Better cancer treatment is expected by everyone.

This knowledge can be used by anyone.

By-phrases: include identifying, important information

Intermediate ESL

detective with magnifying glass

An emergency call was received by the police late last night. 

An emergency call was received [by someone] late last night.

Verbs w/ Two Objects: place focus on the receiver or the item received

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Professor

Our math teacher assigned us a project.

A project was assigned to us by our math teacher.

We were assigned a project by our math teacher.

 

We were announced the project.

The project was explained me.
The project was explained to me.

Verbs without Objects: (Never Passive) recognize intransitive verbs

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Building destroyed in earthquake

The earthquake happened on April 3, 2009 in Italy.

*The earthquake was happened on April 3, 2009 in Italy.

The baby weighed 7 lbs.

*The baby was weighed 7 lbs.

Passive Gerund / Infinitive: express timing and voice in gerund and infinitive (nonfinite) clauses

Intermediate–Advanced ESL

door unlocked

Jack remembered leaving the door unlocked.

Jack remembered having left the door unlocked.

He was told to lock the door.

Jack was thought to have locked the door.

Passive - "Get"

Get-Passives: express circumstance or emotional response to an action or event

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

bird on head

Man, I got hit!     "A pigeon got me!

I got upset(participle modifier / adj. –not a true passive) 

I got fouled "Poor me!"

I got myself cleaned up.   "I did it myself"

I got my hair washed.   "I made it happen."

Participle Modifiers   See Participle Modifiers.

 

Reduced Modifying Clauses

Clause Reduction 1: shorten modifying clauses with be verb forms

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

talk show 

 The seat [that was] next to me was empty.


The woman [who is] seated behind me is eating popcorn. 


A talk show [which is] trying to improve its rating may plan a fight. 

Clause Reduction 2: shorten modifying clauses with active verb forms

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Congress 

 The subcommittee [which meets] next week will discuss a new bill.


 The subcommittee meeting next week will discuss a new bill.

Past Participle Clauses: reduce passive sentences to past-participial modifying clauses

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge, [which was] designed by Charles Ellis, ...


The Golden Gate Bridge, designed by Charles Ellis, ...

Present Participle Clauses: reduce active sentences to present-participle modifying clauses

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

alcatraz

The federal agency, which was locating the prison on Alcatraz,
preferred the isolated location of the island.


The federal agency, which was located in San Francisco,
preferred the isolated location of the island.

Audio Practice

Been / Being: contrast the sounds of been and being

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Doctor spanking baby

We've been quiet.   (present perfect - active)
We're being quiet.   (present progressive - active)

We've been seen by Dr. Allen.   (present perfect - passive)
We 're being seen by Dr. Allen (present progressive - passive)

In Context

Passive in Context: identify passive sentences in the context of an article

Intermediate ESL, Native Speaker

microscopic gene image

"Mapping the human genome has been compared with putting a man on the moon, ..."

The medical benefits of genome science, scientists agree, must be used to benefit all people, not only a privileged few.

Related Pages

Participle w/ Preps: express reaction to circumstances or things

Intermediate–Advanced ESL

pleased

The children were interested in hearing his story.
The press was excited about the President's speech.

The President is pleased with the response.
The President is pleased with how the people responded.

He is interested in and excited about his new project.

Participle + Prep: pair participle modifiers with prepositions

Intermediate–Advanced ESL

Paparazzi camera flash

Celebrities are concerned ____(at, with, by, about) the activities of the Paparazzi.