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CHAPTER 12. THE PASSIVE VOICE 1.

Use of the passive voice As explained in the preceding chapter, the Active Voice of a verb is used when the subject of the verb refers to the person or thing performing the action described by the verb. In contrast, the Passive Voice of a verb is used when the subject of the verb refers to the person or thing receiving the action described by the verb. Only a verb which can take an object can be put into the Passive Voice. The Passive Voice is more commonly used in English than it is in other European languages such as German or French. As well as being used in everyday English, the Passive Voice is used extensively in official documents and scientific papers. In the following examples, the verbs in the Passive Voice are underlined. e.g. The ball was struck by the boy. Gold has been found by the explorers. In these examples, the verbs was struck and has been found are in the Passive Voice. The subjects ball and gold refer to things receiving the actions described by the verbs. 2. Formation of the indicative mood of the passive voice For every tense in the Active Voice, there is a corresponding tense in the Passive Voice. In the Passive Voice, the verb to be acts as an auxiliary. The Passive Voice tenses of an English verb are formed from the corresponding conjugations of to be, followed by the past participle of the verb. a. The simple present indicative For instance, the Simple Present Indicative of to be, and the Simple Present Indicative of the Passive Voice of the verb to show are conjugated as follows: Simple Present Indicative of To Be I am you are he is she is it is we are they are Simple Present Indicative of Passive Voice of To Show I am shown you are shown he is shown she is shown it is shown we are shown they are shown

b. The other indicative tenses Similarly, the other Indicative tenses of the Passive Voice of the verb to show are conjugated as indicated in the following table. The corresponding tenses of the verb to be are included for purposes of comparison. The verb To Be compared with the Passive Voice of the verb To Show Present Continuous I am being Present Continuous I am being shown

you are being he is being she is being it is being we are being they are being Present Perfect I have been you have been he has been she has been it has been we have been they have been Present Perfect Continuous have been being you have been being he has been being she has been being it has been being we have been being they have been being Simple Past I was you were he was she was it was we were they were Past Continuous I was being you were being he was being she was being it was being we were being they were being Past Perfect I had been you had been he had been she had been it had been we had been they had been

you are being shown he is being shown she is being shown it is being shown we are being shown they are being shown Present Perfect I have been shown you have been shown he has been shown she has been shown it has been shown we have been shown they have been shown Present Perfect Continuous I have been being shown you have been being shown he has been being shown she has been being shown it has been being shown we have been being shown they have been being shown Simple Past I was shown you were shown he was shown she was shown it was shown we were shown they were shown Past Continuous I was being shown you were being shown he was being shown she was being shown it was being shown we were being shown they were being shown Past Perfect I had been shown you had been shown he had been shown she had been shown it had been shown we had been shown they had been shown

Past Perfect Continuous I had been being you had been being he had been being she had been being it had been being we had been being they had been being Simple Future I will (shall) be you will be he will be she will be it will be we will (shall) be they will be Future Continuous I will (shall) be being you will be being he will be being she will be being it will be being we will (shall) be being they will be being Future Perfect I will (shall) have been you will have been he will have been she will have been it will have been we will (shall) have been they will have been Future Perfect Continuous I will (shall) have been being you will have been being he will have been being she will have been being It will have been being we will (shall) have been being they will have been being

Past Perfect Continuous I had been being shown you had been being shown he had been being shown she had been being shown it had been being shown we had been being shown they had been being shown Simple Future I will (shall) be shown you will be shown he will be shown she will be shown it will be shown we will (shall) be shown they will be shown Future Continuous I will (shall) be being shown you will be being shown he will be being shown she will be being shown it will be being shown we will (shall) be being shown they will be being shown Future Perfect I will (shall) have been shown you will have been shown he will have been shown she will have been shown it will have been shown we will (shall) have been shown they will have been shown Future Perfect Continuous I will (shall) have been being shown you will have been being shown he will have been being shown she will have been being shown it will have been being shown we will (shall) have been being shown they will have been being shown

c. Summary of the formation of the indicative tenses of the passive voice The following table summarizes the formation of the Indicative tenses of the Passive Voice. The Formation of the Indicative Mood of the Passive Voice Tense Simple Present Present Continuous Auxiliary am/is/are am/is/are being Verb Form past participle past participle

Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous** Simple Past Past Continuous Past Perfect Past Perfect Continuous** Simple Future Future Continuous** Future Perfect Future Perfect Continuous**

have/has been have/has been being was/were was/were being had been had been being will (shall) be* will (shall) be being will (shall) have been will (shall) have been being

past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle

* The other modal auxiliaries form conjugations in the same way as shown for will and shall. ** The Present Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous, Future Continuous, and Future Perfect Continuous tenses of the Passive Voice are cumbersome, and are rarely used. Only the more commonly used tenses of the Passive Voice will be discussed below. 3. Questions and negative statements As is the case for other English conjugations, verbs in the Passive Voice form questions and negative statements using the first auxiliary. a. Questions To form a question, the first auxiliary is placed before the subject. For example: Affirmative Statement You were shown the sights. She is being shown the sights. He will have been shown the sights. We should be shown the sights. Question Were you shown the sights? Is she being shown the sights? Will he have been shown the sights? Should we be shown the sights?

b. Negative statements To form a negative statement, the word not is placed after the first auxiliary. For example: Negative Statements You were not shown the sights. She is not being shown the sights. He will not have been shown the sights. We should not be shown the sights. c. Negative questions To form a negative question, the first auxiliary is placed before the subject, and the word not is placed after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not follows immediately after the auxiliary. Contractions are often used in spoken English. For example: Without Contractions Were you not shown the sights?

Is she not being shown the sights? Will he not have been shown the sights? Should we not be shown the sights? With Contractions Weren't you shown the sights? Isn't she being shown the sights? Won't he have been shown the sights? Shouldn't we be shown the sights?

4. Changing the voice of a verb When the verb of a sentence is changed from the Active Voice to the Passive Voice and the other words in the sentence are left unaltered, a change in meaning results. In the following examples, the verbs are underlined. e.g. Active Voice: He is driving to the airport. Passive Voice: He is being driven to the airport. The person referred to by the subject of the first sentence is behaving actively; the person is doing the driving. The person referred to by the subject of the second sentence is behaving passively; someone else is doing the driving. Using the first person singular of the verb to show as an example, the following table compares the most commonly used tenses of the Indicative Mood of the Passive Voice with the corresponding tenses of the Active Voice. Tense Simple Present Negative Statement: Present Continuous Present Perfect Simple Past Negative Statement: Past Continuous Past Perfect Simple Future Future Perfect Simple, with would Perfect, with would Active Voice I show I do not show I am showing I have shown I showed I did not show I was showing I had shown I will show I will have shown I would show I would have shown Passive Voice I am shown I am not shown I am being shown I have been shown I was shown I was not shown I was being shown I had been shown I will be shown I will have been shown I would be shown I would have been shown

5. Changing the voice of a verb while preserving the meaning of a sentence In order to preserve the meaning of a sentence when the Voice of the verb is changed, it is necessary to alter the order of the words in the sentence. a. Changing the verb from the active voice to the passive voice When a verb which takes an object is changed from the Active Voice to the Passive Voice, in order

to preserve the meaning of the sentence, the former object becomes the subject of the verb, and the former subject may be preceded by the preposition by, and placed after the verb. In the following examples, the verbs are underlined, and the direct objects of the verbs are printed in bold type. For instance, in the sentence: The wind is rippling the water. the verb is rippling has the subject wind and takes the object water. When the verb is put into the Passive Voice and the meaning of the sentence is preserved, the former object, water, becomes the subject of the verb, and the former subject, wind, becomes the object of the preposition by, as follows: The water is being rippled by the wind. Other examples are: Active: The squirrel ate the nut. Passive: The nut was eaten by the squirrel. Active: The child will open the parcel. Passive: The parcel will be opened by the child. In the first pair of examples, the verb ate, in the Active Voice, is changed to was eaten, in the Passive Voice. In order to preserve the meaning, nut, the object of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the subject of the verb in the Passive Voice, and is placed before the verb; and squirrel, the subject of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the object of the preposition by, and is placed after the verb. Similarly, in the second pair of examples, parcel, the object of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the subject of the verb in the Passive Voice and is placed before the verb; and child, the subject of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the object of the preposition by, and is placed after the verb. It should be noted that, when changing the Voice of a verb in a sentence while preserving the meaning of the sentence, it is necessary to make sure that the verb agrees with its new subject. e.g. Active: The boys are mowing the lawn. Passive: The lawn is being mowed by the boys. In the first sentence, the subject boys is plural; therefore a plural auxiliary are is used. In the second sentence, the subject lawn is singular; therefore a singular auxiliary is is used. The agreement of verbs with noun subjects is discussed in the next chapter. b. Changing the verb from the passive voice to the active voice When a verb is changed from the Passive Voice to the Active Voice, in order to preserve the meaning of the sentence, the former subject becomes the object of the verb, and, if the sentence includes a phrase beginning with the preposition by, the former object of the preposition becomes the subject of the verb. e.g. Passive: The clover is being eaten by the cow. Active: The cow is eating the clover. In this pair of examples, the verb is being eaten, in the Passive Voice, is changed to is eating, in the Active Voice. In order to preserve the meaning of the sentence, clover, the subject of the verb in the Passive Voice, becomes the object of the verb in the Active Voice, and is placed after the verb; and cow, the object of the preposition by, becomes the subject of the verb in the Active Voice, and is placed before the verb.

Other examples are: Passive: The wine was ordered by the dealer. Active: The dealer ordered the wine. Passive: The deer could have been killed by the poacher. Active: The poacher could have killed the deer. c. Changing the voice of a verb which takes both a direct object and an indirect object When a verb in the Active Voice takes both a direct object and an indirect object, either object can become the subject of the verb when the verb is put into the Passive Voice, and the meaning of the sentence is preserved. The object which does not become the subject remains as an object. When a verb in the Passive Voice takes an indirect object, the indirect object is usually preceded by a preposition. e.g. Active: The guide will show you the museum. Passive: You will be shown the museum by the guide. Passive: The museum will be shown to you by the guide. In the first sentence, the verb will show, in the Active Voice, takes the direct object museum, and the indirect object you. In the second and third sentences, the verb will be shown is in the Passive Voice, and the meaning has been preserved by altering the word order and using the preposition by. In the second sentence, the former indirect object, you, is the subject of the verb, and the former direct object, museum, remains the direct object. In the third sentence, the former direct object, museum, is the subject of the verb, and the former indirect object, you, is preceded by the preposition to. A similar example is: Active: The policeman gave you a medal. Passive: You were given a medal by the policeman. Passive: A medal was given to you by the policeman. In the first sentence, the verb gave, in the Active Voice, takes the direct object medal and the indirect object you. In the second and third sentences, the verb was given is in the Passive Voice. In the second sentence, the former indirect object, you, is the subject of the verb, and the former direct object, medal, remains the direct object. In the third sentence, the former direct object, medal, is the subject of the verb, and the former indirect object, you, is preceded by the preposition to. 6. The subjunctive mood of the passive voice The Passive Voice tenses discussed so far have all been in the Indicative Mood. However, verbs in the Passive Voice can also be put into the Subjunctive Mood. It has been seen that all of the tenses in the Passive Voice are formed using auxiliaries. As has already been explained, the Subjunctive Mood of tenses using auxiliaries is formed by putting the first auxiliary into the Subjunctive Mood. Using the verb to show as an example, the following table illustrates the formation of the tenses of the Subjunctive Mood of the Passive Voice. The Subjunctive Mood of the Passive Voice of the verb To Show

Simple Present I be shown you be shown he be shown she be shown it be shown we be shown they be shown Present Continuous I be being shown you be being shown he be being shown she be being shown it be being shown we be being shown they be being shown Present Perfect I have been shown you have been shown he have been shown she have been shown it have been shown we have been shown they have been shown Present Perfect Continuous I have been being shown you have been being shown he have been being shown she have been being shown it have been being shown we have been being shown they have been being shown

Simple Past I were shown you were shown he were shown she were shown it were shown we were shown they were shown Past Continuous I were being shown you were being shown he were being shown she were being shown it were being shown we were being shown they were being shown Past Perfect I had been shown you had been shown he had been shown she had been shown it had been shown we had been shown they had been shown Past Perfect Continuous I had been being shown you had been being shown he had been being shown she had been being shown it had been being shown we had been being shown they had been being shown

The following table summarizes the formation of the Subjunctive tenses of the Passive Voice. The Formation of the Subjunctive Mood of the Passive Voice Tense Simple Present Present Continuous Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous Simple Past Past Continuous Past Perfect Past Perfect Continuous Auxiliary be be being have been have been being were were being had been had been being Verb Form past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle past participle

a. Use of the simple present subjunctive Like the Simple Present Subjunctive of the Active Voice, the Simple Present Subjunctive of the Passive Voice is often used in subordinate clauses beginning with that in sentences which contain formal commands, or requests. As can be seen from the preceding table, the Simple Present Subjunctive of The Passive Voice is formed from the invariable auxiliary be, followed by the past participle of the verb. The following sentences are examples of the use of the Simple Present Subjunctive of the Passive Voice. e.g. I request that he be invited to speak. We asked that our suggestions be considered. They will insist that their colleague be admitted to the association. b. Use of the past forms of the subjunctive Like the past forms of the Subjunctive of the Active Voice, the past forms of the Subjunctive of the Passive Voice are used in wishes, and in statements containing false or improbable conditions. e.g. I wish he were allowed to come. It would have been better if they had been invited. In the first example, the Simple Past Subjunctive of the Passive Voice, were allowed, is used in expressing a wish. In the second example, the Past Perfect Subjunctive of the Passive Voice, had been invited, is used in expressing the false condition they had been invited.