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Passives for Pre-Intermediate

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Passive sentences are used to focus on the object, or when the agent is unknown. The object of the active verb is the subject of the passive verb. Compare:

Active: The boy broke the cup.
Passive: The cup was broken (by the boy).

In passives, the subject does not perform the action in the sentence - the action is performed on it.

The passive is formed by using the auxiliary verb be + past participle.

We use passives more in written English more than spoken English. In passive sentences the agent (the person/thing) that did an action does not have to be mentioned. We use the passive when leaving out the agent, i.e. when the agent is clear, not known or not important.

Decide if these sentences need the active or passive form:

  • 1 - The best pizza in town ___ at Giovanni's.



  • 2 - We ___ our shoes from China.



  • 3 - The teacher ___ by the students.



  • 4 - She ___ by the biggest company in town.



  • 5 - My car ___ bio-diesel.



  • 6 - They ___ by the police.



  • 7 - Our dog is dirty, most of the time he ___ once a month.



  • 8 - These keys ___ yesterday, are they yours?



  • 9 - Lots of paper ___ in our office each day.



  • 10 - The children ___ their bedroom.