Unit 5.1

Active and Passive Adjectives


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Introduction

Adjectives are determiners that can be placed in two different positions within a sentence to modify or describe a person or a thing.

Adjectives can be used with active or passive voice.

Form

The active and passive adjectives can be created as follows:

  • active adjectives with suffix -ing;
  • passive adjectives with suffix -ed.

Example

Active adjectives:

  • I’ve got some exciting news for you.
  • Her answer was amazing!
  • The film is so boring!
  • They found the topic very interesting.

Passive adjectives:

  • I was surprised by her reaction to the news.
  • Her mother was disappointed with him.
  • We are tired of lying to our parents. 
  • They are worried about their economic situation.

Use

We use active adjectives to express that somebody or something is causing a particular effect.

We use passive adjectives to express that somebody or something is experiencing a feeling or emotion.

Summary

Adjectives can be used either in an active or passive voice, with a significant difference in meaning.

  • Active adjectives, with suffix -ing, express the idea of something or someone causing a particular event or effect.
  • Passive adjectives, with suffix -ed, express the idea of something or someone experiencing a particular event or effect.

For example:
— “This class was boring!” = We use the active voice because it is the class that causes the boring situation.
— “I was bored during the lesson.” = We use the passive voice because the subject (I) is the one who experiences the action and gets bored.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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