Unit 12.1

Passive Structure

Syntax


Introduction

The passive form expresses the idea of something or someone receiving an action or experiencing a particular event or effect.

Form

In passive sentences, we can indicate the doer or the agent.

The structure of the passive voice is:
Subject + passive verb [to be + past participle] + (by + agent) + …

  •  We find the preposition by before the agent.

NOTE: The subject is the receiver of the action. We can also omit the agent if the relations between the agent and subject is not necessary or already clear.

Example

  • Obama was the first African-American to be elected as president of the USA.
  • The soldiers were sent to war by the government.
  • The people were bombed by terrorists.
  • The house was built in a year. 
  • The man was hit by a car.

Use

We use the passive voice when we focus on a person/thing that is experiencing the action more than the person/thing that is performing the action.

Summary

The passive form is used to express the idea of something or someone receiving an action or experiencing a particular event or effect.

The structure is: We start with the subject followed by the passive verb (formed by the verb to be and a past participle) and potentially followed by the preposition and by the agent.

For example:
— “Spanish is widely spoken around the world.” = Lots of people speak Spanish Spanish is being widely spokenis the action that we focused on in the passive form.
— “These dogs are fed by volunteers.” = We can highlight the agent or doer volunteers by using by.

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

License

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