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1 The Passive - Normal sentences


You are given a block of text which explains the theory of this concept.

Once you have read the theory, do the exercises given below to test how well you have understood the ideas.


How to do the Exercises:


You are given a set of words.

You are also given some sentences with input boxes, and you are required to use the words to complete the sentences correctly.


You can put your chosen word into the input box by first clicking on the word and then in the input box.


The word will appear in the input box.


If it is correct, it will go green, and if not, it will go red.

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1 The Passive - Normal sentences


In a normal sentence in English, there is a subject, a verb and the verb has an object.

David is eating an apple.

Here, David is the subject, eating is the verb, and an apple is the object. This is called the active form.

The position of these elements can be changed to give the passive form, where the subject and the object of the verb change places.

An apple is being eaten by David.

Here, an apple becomes the subject, the verb changes form from IS EATING to IS BEING EATEN, and the object becomes BY DAVID.

The position of an element corresponds to its importance in the sentence.

If David is the subject, then David is the most important element in the sentence. If the positions are changed, the reason is to give another element more importance.

David cleans our windows.

Here we are more interested in who cleans the windows than in the windows, so if that person is David, then he is the most important element.

It is the answer to the question:

Who cleans your windows?

If we change the sentence to

Our windows are cleaned by david.

Then we are more interested in the windows than in David. This is an answer to the question

What is cleaned by David?

It is important to understand how the verb changes in this process:

cleans > is cleaned

is cleaning > is being cleaned

cleaned > was cleaned

was cleaning > was being cleaned

has cleaned > has been cleaned

must clean > must be cleaned

supposed to clean > supposed to be cleaned

Notice that:

Gerund verbs or verbs ending in ING use BEING + past participle.

He is CLEANING the car > The car IS BEING cleaned.

Modal verbs use BE + past participle

He SHOULD CLEAN the car > The car should BE cleaned.

Verbs in the infinitive use BE or TO BE + past participle.

He is supposed TO CLEAN the car > The car is suposed TO BE cleaned.

Notice also that all the passive forms use the past participle, CLEANED, and CLEANING become CLEANED.

Normally the passive is used when the person doing the action is not known:

The door was left open.

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Complete the sentences with the correct form of the passive and the verb in brackets

  • BE
  • IS

The chicken (1) (cook) at the moment.

  • WAS
  • IS

The class (2) (teach) last week.

  • BE
  • SOLD

This car should (3) (sell) soon.


  • WAS
  • BUS

According to the report, the driver of the bus was a woman.


According to the report, the (4) by a woman.

  • ARE
  • WERE

A very friendly teacher taught our class today.


We (5) by a very friendly teacher today.

  • RUN
  • IS
  • BY
  • RAN

A temporary manager is running the shop at the moment.


The shop (6) a temporary manager at the moment.

  • OFF
  • WAS
  • ON
  • BY
  • PUT

The doctor postponed the operation until the following week.


The operation (7) the doctor until the following week.