Changing voice

Goals

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will practise turning actives into passives, and passives into actives.

Activity 1 in the right hand menu presents students with active sentences. Ask students to work individually, in pairs, or in groups and to write down a passive version of the sentence.

If you need extra help, look at the steps below. You can also check the page on actives and passives in the 'Professional development' pages, found in the 'Content type' menu to the left.

First, move the Direct Object (the BMW) so that it comes before the verb (or verb phrase) instead of after it.

Next, change the verb phrase to include a suitable form of the auxiliary verb be and a following verb in past participle form. Here we have a past tense verb (examined) so we need a past tense form of be.

Finally, move the old Subject to the position after the verb phrase and add by before it: so Two guards ... becomes ... by two guards.

Note that there are sometimes multiple options for placing the by phrase. In addition, the by phrase can be left out entirely for an agentless passive.

Activity 2 in the right hand menu presents students with passive sentences. Ask students to work individually, in pairs, or in groups and to write down an active version of the sentence.

Note that an agentless passive with no by phrase does not give you a clear way to determining the Subject of the active version. The final two examples in Activity 2 reflect this, and offer two possibilities for solving the problem. What other possible solutions do students come up with?

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Changing voice: Activity 1

Two guards examined the BMW. → The BMW was examined by two guards.

Renoir painted the same road a few months later. → The same road was painted by Renoir a few months later.

His critics were attacking him on all sides. → He was being attacked by his critics on all sides.

Carrie kissed Jack. → Jack was kissed by Carrie.

PC Michael Packwood interviewed Mr Forty after the accident. → Mr. Forty was interviewed by PC Michael Packwood after the accident.

The words taunted her. → She was taunted by the words.

Mr. Howard underestimates the Prime Minister. → The Primer Minister is underestimated by Mr. Howard.

Egypt, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Mexico and Morocco have signed the articles too. → The articles have been signed by Egypt, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Mexico and Morocco too.

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Changing voice: Activity 2

The leader of the party is elected by the political party. → The political party elects the leader of the party.

The full costs of their care are met by the NHS. → The NHS meets the full costs of their care.

The flowers had been watered by the gardener. → The gardener had watered the flowers.

The $80m relief effort is being coordinated by the United Nations. → The United Nations is coordinating the $80m relief effort.

On the OHV engine both the alternator and water pump are driven by a ‘V’ belt. → On the OHV engine the 'V' belt drives both the alternator and water pump.

And in this instance he’s being embraced by the goddess Isis. → And in this instance the goddess Isis is embracing him.

I’ve been asked that so many times. → People have asked me that so many times.

The patients were interviewed and tested in a laboratory. → Researchers inverviewed and tested the patients in a laboratory.

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