The Passive Voice


Which facts about Seattle do you think are true and which are false?

  1. The basketball team “The Lakers” are from Seattle
  2. It often rains in Seattleseattle
  3. Silicon Valley is near Seattle
  4. Bill Gates and Microsoft are located in Seattle
  5. Chrysler cars are manufactured in Seattle
  6. Bruce Springsteen was born in Seattle
  7. “Grunge” music comes from Seattle
  8. Seattle is in the Southwest of the United States

My Hometown

Many years ago, I was born in Seattle, Washington USA. Seattle is located in the  northwest corner of the USA. Recently, Seattle has become the focus of much international attention. Many films have been made there, probably the most famous of which is Sleepless in Seattle starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Seattle is also known as the birthplace of “Grunge” music; both Pearl Jam and Nirvana are from Seattle. For older people like me, it should be noted that Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle! NBA fans know Seattle for the “Seattle Supersonics”, a team that has played basketball in Seattle for more than 30 years. Unfortunately, Seattle is also famous for its bad weather.

Seattle has also become one of the fastest-growing business areas in the United States. Two of the most important names in the booming business scene in Seattle are Microsoft and Boeing. Microsoft was founded and is owned by the world-famous Bill Gates (how much of his software is on your computer?). Boeing has always been essential to the economic situation in Seattle. It is located to the north of Seattle and famous jets such as the “Jumbo” have been manufactured there for more than 50 years!

Seattle is positioned between Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains. The combination of its scenic location, thriving business conditions and exciting cultural scene makes Seattle one of America’s most interesting cities.

Chrysler cars are manufactured in Seattle          Chrysler manufactures cars in Seattle

Which sentence is ACTIVE and which sentence is PASSIVE?

The passive

The passive voice is used when focusing on the person or thing affected by an action.

  • The Passive is formed: Passive Subject + To Be + Past Particple

They built the house in 1989         The house was built in 1989.

  • It is often used in business when the object of the action is more important than those who perform the action.

Over 20 different models have been produced in the past two years.

The passive uses the same patterns for the other tenses:

  • PRESENT CONTINUOUS: is/are + being + past participle

Susan is cooking dinner                 Dinner is being cooked by Susan

  • PAST: was/were + past participle

      James Joyce wrote “Dubliners”      “Dubliners” was written by James Joyce.

  • FUTURE: will/going to + be + past participle

I will finish it tomorrow.                 It will be finished tomorrow.

 

 Practice using the passive

1. They make shoes in that factory.

Shoes      —             are made in that factory.

2. People must not leave bicycles in the driveway.

Bicycles      —             must not be left in the driveway.

3. They built that skyscraper in 1934.

That skyscraper      —             was built in 1934.

4. The students will finish the course by July.

The course      —             will be finished by July.

5. They are repairing the streets this month.

The streets     —             are being repaired this month.

Change these sentences into the passive voice

1. They had finished the preparations by the time the guests arrived.

2. You should take care when working on electrical equipment.

3. They are going to perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony next weekend.

4. Someone will speak Japanese at the meeting.

5. Karen is going to prepare the refreshments.