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Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises


Voice in English grammar refers to active or passive use of the verb.

The active voice is used in making straightforward statement about an action;
that is, the doer of the action is the grammatical subject, and the receiver
of the action is the grammatical object:

The butler murdered the detective.

doer of the action receiver of the action
(subject) (object)

In the passive voice, the same action is referred to indirectly; that is, the original
receiver of the action is the grammatical subject, and the original doer of the
action is the grammatical object of the preposition by:

The detective was murdered by the butler.

receiver of the action doer of the action
(subject) (object)

To change an active clause into a passive clause,

a) make the object of the active clause the subject of the passive clause
b) use verb to be of the active clause tense and add the past participle of the
main verb
c) make the subject of the active clause the agent (doer) of the passive clause.
Introduce the agent (if required) using the preposition by

Active: Mark Twain wrote Tom Sawyer.

subject main verb object
(Simple Past)

Passive: Tom Sawyer was written by Mark Twain.

subject to be past participle agent / doer
(Simple Past) of the main verb

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises

object subject
verb to be + past participle of the main verb
subject agent / doer of the action (if required)

When changing an active clause into a passive one, take care to use the
appropriate form of the verb to be, since it has to be assigned to a new subject,
which may be a singular or a plural noun:

Active: A famous architect has built all these houses.

singular noun plural noun

Passive: All these houses have been built by a famous architect.

plural noun singular noun

Since the grammatical subject of a passive verb is the original object of the
active verb, only a transitive verb, i.e. a verb which can take an object (e.g.
construct something) may be used in the passive voice.

A table of active tenses and their passive equivalents


Simple Present gives is given
Simple Past gave was given
Present Perfect has given has been given
Past Perfect had given had been given
Future Simple will give will be given
Present Continuous is giving is being given
Past Continuous was giving was being given

Other continuous tenses are rarely used in the passive.

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises


Active: Somebody cleans this room every day. (Simple Present)

Passive: This room is cleaned every day.

Active: Somebody cleaned this room yesterday. (Simple Past)

Passive: This room was cleaned yesterday.

Active: Somebody has cleaned this room. (Present Perfect)

Passive: This room has been cleaned.

Active: Somebody had cleaned this room. (Past Perfect)

Passive: This room had been cleaned.

Active: Somebody will clean this room. (Future Simple)

Passive: This room will be cleaned.

Active: Somebody is cleaning this room. (Present Continuous)

Passive: This room is being cleaned.

Active: Somebody was cleaning this room. (Past Continuous)

Passive: This room was being cleaned.


The passive voice is used in English:

a) when attention is to be drawn especially to the receiver of the action, i.e. if
we want to point out the object more than the subject:

My dog was hit by a car.

The window has been broken.
Tom Sawyer was written by Mark Twain.

b) when the doer of the action is unimportant or unknown. Such use occurs
frequently in textbooks, in scientific, technical and business reports, and in
newspaper stories, making it possible to maintain an impersonal tone.

The report was confirmed yesterday.

The Yalta Agreement was signed during World War Two.
I have been robbed!

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises

A police officer was killed last night in a road accident.

c) when it is not necessary to mention the doer of the action:

He was killed in the war.

This book was printed in Rijeka.


The by-phrase containing the agent (the doer) of a passive clause is only
required in specific cases (in fact, about four out of five English passive clauses
have no agent). The passive is especially associated with impersonal style,
where the question of who is the agent (i.e. who performs the action described
by the verb) is unimportant and often irrelevant.

The active subjects such as I, we, you, they, one, someone, somebody, nobody,
no one, people, a man, a boy, the servant, etc., are very seldom worth mention in
the passive construction.

Active: People play football all over the world.

Passive: Football is played all over the world.

The active subject is used as the agent in the passive construction when it is
necessary to complete the sense:

Active: Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy.

Passive: John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald.

The vague active subject, such as no one or nobody is not mentioned in the
passive sentence. Therefore, the verb in the passive sentence will become

Active: Nobody invited him to dinner.

Passive: He was not invited to dinner.

The introductory it is another vague passive subject. Active sentences of the type
People say / think / consider / know etc. that he is .. have two possible
passive forms:

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises

Active: People say that figs are better for us than bananas.
Passive: It is said that figs are better for us than bananas. (1)
Figs are said to be better for us than bananas. (2)


It is better to use the infinitive construction, as in example (2).


It is possible that the verb in the active voice takes two objects, both a direct
object (DO) and an indirect (IO) one.

The direct object answers the Croatian questions: koga? or to? i.e. it
corresponds to the Croatian accusative case . The indirect object answers the
Croatian questions: komu? or emu? i.e. it corresponds to the Croatian dative
case .

Active: Someone gave her a dog.


In theory, a sentence containing a direct and an indirect object could have two
passive forms:

Passive: She was given a dog.

A dog was given (to) her. to is optional

It is more usual in English to make personal object the subject of the passive
The form: A dog was given (to) her
would be used when we need to stress the new subject.

Note: Dont forget to use the nominative case of the pronoun when making it the
subject of a passive sentence! (me I, him he, her she, us we, them

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises


When a verb + preposition + object combination is put into the passive,

the preposition must remain immediately after the verb:

Active: Someone will have to deal with this matter right away.
Passive: This matter will have to be dealt with right away.

Likewise: ask for, believe in, look at, talk to, look after, wonder at, etc.


In the passive voice it is more usual to put an adverb of manner immediately in

front of the past participle it qualifies:

Active: They made the computer well.

adverb of manner

Passive: The computer was well made.

past participle


Such active sentences are made passive by using a passive infinitive, i.e. just a
transitive verb is made passive:

Active: Someone must limit the number of students.

modal verb + infinitive

Passive: The number of students must be limited.

passive infinitive

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises


The passive auxiliary is normally be, but can sometimes be get. The passive with
get is normally found only in informal style, and in constructions without an

Sometimes a person gets punished for a crime he didnt commit.

The boy got hurt on his way home.


The passive is much more used in English than in Croatian. English passive
constructions should be translated into Croatian by active construction
reflexive verbs.

English: A rod was formerly used to punish students.

Croatian: Nekad se koristilo ibu za kanjavanje uenika.

The following translation of the English passive sentence into Croatian is not

English: The contract was signed by all the ministers.

Croatian: Ugovor je potpisan od svih ministara. - not correct

The correct translation would be:

Croatian: Svi ministri potpisali su ugovor.

In English the direct and the indirect object of the active voice may be the
subject of the passive. In Croatian only the direct object of the active voice can
be the subject of the passive voice.

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises


Underline verbs in Passive Voice:

The Canterville Ghost

When the American, Mr Otis, bought Canterville Castle, everyone told him that this was very
foolish, as the place was haunted. But Mr Otis answered, I come from a modern country,
where we have everything that money can buy. And if there were such a thing as a ghost in
Europe, we would have it at home in one of our museums.

A few weeks later, on a lovely July evening, Mr Otis, his wife and their children,
Washington, Virginia and the twins, went down to their new home. When they entered the
avenue of Canterville Castle, the sky suddenly became dark and a spooky stillness was in the

Mrs Umney, the housekeeper, led them into the library of the castle, where they sat down and
began to look around. Suddenly, Mrs Otis saw a red stain on the floor just by the fireplace
and said to Mrs Umney, I am afraid something has been spilt there.

Yes, madam, said the old housekeeper in a low voice, blood has been spilt on that spot.

How terrible, said Mrs Otis; I don't want any blood-stains in my sitting-room. It must be
removed at once.

The old woman smiled and answered, It is the blood of Lady Eleanore de Canterville, who
was murdered on that spot by her husband, Sir Simon de Canterville, in 1575. Sir Simon
disappeared seven years later. His body has never been found, but his ghost still haunts the
Castle. The blood-stain is a tourist attraction now and it cannot be removed.

That is all nonsense, said Washington, the eldest son of the Otis family, stain remover will
clean it up in no time, and he took a bottle of stain remover out of his pocket and cleaned
the spot. But as soon as the blood-stain had disappeared, a terrible flash of lightning lit up the
room and a fearful peal of thunder made the whole building shake.

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises


Complete the following passive voice sentences in the tenses suggested:

1. Fiat cars (make) _____________ in Italy. Present Simple

2. Mickey Mouse (create) ______________by Walt Disney. Past Simple
3. You (invite) ______________ to lunch tomorrow. Present Perfect Simple
4. This poem should (learn) _______________ by heart. Infinitive
5. Abraham Lincoln (kill) ______________ in Washington. Past Simple
6. The book (finish) _________________ next month. Future Simple
7. Mount Everest (climb) _______________ in 1953. - Past Simple
8. This exercise (do) _______________very carefully. Present Continuous
9. Hats and coats must (leave) ________________ in the cloakroom. Infinitive
10. This book (not read) _________________ yet. Present Perfect Simple
11. I think we (follow) _________________. Present Continuous
12. My umbrella (take) _________________. Present Perfect Simple
13. Psycho (direct) ________________ by Hitchcock. Past Simple
14. National anthems (play) _______________ at Olympic Games. Present
15. Coca-Cola (drink) _______________since 1886. Present Perfect Simple
16. The piano (play) ________________ too loudly. Past Continuous
17. A cure for AIDS (discover) _________________. Future Simple
18. The film (shoot) ________________ in Italy. Future Simple
19. This highway (construct) ________________ for many years. Past


Put the following sentences into the passive voice:

1. They will test the car next month.

2. They are building a modern motorway in our country.
3. Bees make honey.
4. Leonardo painted Mona Lisa.
5. The Americans developed the first bomb close to the end of World War II.
6. The mirror reflects the light.
7. F.L Wright has built many beautiful houses.
8. The students are writing a test now.
9. Jill will invite you to the party.
10.Somebody started the fight at 7 p.m. yesterday.
11.You should open the window.
12.William will not repair the car.

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises

13.Did Sue draw this circle?

14.People know that cars pollute the environment.
15.They suppose that the new product will come out soon.
16.We do not clean our rooms.
17.Beethoven composed this piece.
18.Nobody has made any mistakes.
19.Unkind remarks easily upset Ann.
20. A huge wave overturned the boat.
21. We have done our homework.
22. His colleagues thought that he was on holiday.
23. Columbus discovered America in 1492.
24.Do you want someone to wake you up in the morning?
25.Im hoping they will choose me for the college football team.
26. We check every car engine thoroughly.
27.They have cancelled the meeting.
28.You should pay your bill before you leave the hotel.
29.The police are questioning Mr. and Mrs. Green.
30.Someone was carrying a bomb to a safe place when it exploded.
31.He can cut out the picture.
32.He must fill in the form.
33. You ought to wash the car.
34.They found that the mission was impossible.


Put the following sentences into the passive voice using the part in bold type as
the subject:

1. Rachel will give you some advice.

2. I sent him a letter.
3. They have written her a postcard.
4. Someone showed them a camera.
5. The police officer showed us the way.
6. The waiter has not brought us the coffee.
7. They did not offer her a seat.
8. She told me a lie.
9. She told me a lie.
10. Rachel will give you some advice.

Part II__________________________________________________Grammar with Exercises

Fill the gaps with the correct tenses (active or passive voice):

Hadrian's Wall
1. In the year 122 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian (visit) ___________
his provinces in Britain.
2. On his visit, the Roman soldiers (tell) _________________ him that Pictish
tribes from Britain's north (attack) _______________ them.
3. So Hadrian (give) _________________ the order to build a protective wall
across one of the narrowest parts of the country.
4. After 6 years of hard work, the Wall (finish) ____________________ in 128.
5. It (be) _____________117 kilometres long and about 4 metres high.
6. The Wall (guard) _______________by 15,000 Roman soldiers.
7. Every 8 kilometres there (be) _______________a large fort in which up to
1,000 soldiers (find) _______________ shelter.
8. The soldiers (watch) ________________ over the frontier to the north and
(check) __________________ the people who (want) _____________ to enter
or leave Roman Britain.
9. In order to pass through the Wall, people (must go) ________________ to one
of the small forts that (serve) __________________ as gateways.
10. Those forts (call) ________________ milecastles because the distance from
one fort to another (be) ________________ one Roman mile (about 1,500
11. Between the milecastles there (be) ________________ two turrets from
which the soldiers (guard) _________________ the Wall.
12. If the Wall (attack) ________________ by enemies, the soldiers at the turrets
(run) _____________ to the nearest milecastle for help or (light)
_________________ a fire that (can / see) ________________ by the soldiers in
the milecastle.
13. In 383 Hadrian's Wall (abandon) _________________.
14. Today Hadrian's Wall (be) _________________ the most popular tourist
attraction in northern England.
15. In 1987, it (become) _________________ a UNESCO World Heritage