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  • Passive Voice Can be Mastered in 30 Minutes or Less!

    Do you often struggle with the English passive voice and need to be reminded when and how it is used?  Take 30 minutes out of your busy day to practice, and afterwards, you’ll feel like a master.  Let’s get started! English Passive Voice Lesson!

    English Passive Voice Video

    First, take a look at this short grammar video with review questions about the basics of passive voice.  Or, if you’re too excited and just want to begin, we can review the important facts here:

    WHEN is the passive voice used?

    we don’t know who or what does the action

    the action is most important

    HOW is the passive voice used?

    • form of to be (OR to get-this is common in American English) + past participle

    Let’s review the verbs be and get in each tense, then you say a sentence of your own after reading the example:

    English Passive Voice Tenses

    Present: is/am/are washed —- get/gets washed

    • example: The dishes are washed by the dishwasher.

    Past: was/were robbed —- got robbed

    • example: The shop got robbed the other night.

    Present continuous: is/am/are being made —- is/am/are getting made

    • example: The jewelry is being made for Mother’s Day.

    Future: is going to/will be built —- is going to/will get built

    • example: The apartment will be built next year.

    Present perfect: has/have been discovered —- has/have gotten discovered

    • example: The cure for cancer has not been discovered.

    Modals: should be prohibited —- should get prohibited

    • example: I think smoking in this restaurant should be prohibited.

    You now know how and when passive voice is used.  This understanding can be strengthened by listening to examples of passive voice here:

    and here:

     You’re almost there.  It’s important to review some irregular past participles that are different from their past simple form:

    English Past Participles

    bite -> bitten               see -> seen

    blow -> blown              show -> shown

    break -> broken               sing -> sung

    eat -> eaten              speak -> spoken

    give -> given               take -> taken

    know -> known              tear -> torn

    overcome -> overcome               wake -> woken

    ride -> ridden                wear -> worn

    run -> run              write -> written

    Ok, now it’s time to put it all together!  Change the following sentences from active voice to passive voice.  Write your answers in the comment section.

    English Passive Voice Exercise

    Example:  Active–The emotions overcame her.  Passive: She was overcome with emotions.

    1. The choir is singing songs.
    2. The nail has torn his shirt.
    3. The fans will see Beyonce tonight.
    4. The police found the thief.
    5. Many students are taking that test this year.
    6. Teachers gave the award to the most creative person.
    7. A dog might bite him if he gets too close.
    8. He dresses himself every day.
    9. The owners will show the remodeled house this Saturday.
    10. His mom wakes him up every day.

    Great work!  Don’t worry, if you’re still not feeling like a master, remember to keep practicing, and take a class with LOI to perfect your skills!  Finally, here are 3 things that should be kept in mind about passive voice:

    • Politicians often use the passive voice to intentionally obscure the idea of who did the action.  (Mistakes were made.)
    • We often hear and see the passive voice in crime reports and scientific journals.
    • If you’re not sure if you have the passive voice, try ending the sentence with by aliens.
      • The aliens attacked the town (by aliens).
      • The town was attacked (by aliens).