Unit 20: Uses of the passive voice | Grammar | B1
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Unit 20: Uses of the passive voice | Grammar | B1

We use the passive voice mainly in two ways:

a: when we want to focus on the action or event, not who or what caused it,
E.G. The injured were taken to hospital,

b: when we want to avoid ‘vague subjects’ like ‘one’, ‘someone’, ‘they’,
E.G. Care should be taken when removing the vase from the box.


Transform these sentences to make them passive:     

1. They are polluting the atmosphere.
The atmosphere __________________.

2. People speak English here.
English _________________________.

3. Does anyone need extra paper?
___________ extra paper ____________?

4. They've translated this book into twelve languages.
This book _________________________.

5. We haven't ordered the food for the party yet.
The food for the party ________________.

6. They are demanding minimum wages.

Minimum wages ____________________.

7. We'll lock your valuables in the hotel safe.

Your valuables _____________________.

8. We advise passengers not to wear high heels.

Passengers ________________________.

We use the passive voice when the agent or cause of an action or event is unknown, obvious or not important.

E.G. Two men were arrested and taken to the police station.
The children had been warned about the dangers of the science laboratory.
The room is being painted.


Express the following in the passive, omitting the agent:

e.g. A group of boys had broken into the community centre.
The community centre had been broken into.

1. The couple are planning a June wedding.

2. Local residents were asking a lot of questions about the woman's disappearance.

3. The police have arrested the criminal.

4. Thieves stole several pieces of valuable jewellery.

5. A lady said she saw a man painting the town clock.

6. Someone was recording our phone call!

7. They had cleaned the house and prepared the food the day before the party.

8. I will answer any questions at the end of the lecture.

9. The critics compared her style to Joyce's.

10. She always gave strangers a warm welcome.