Unit 5.2

Verbs with Two Objects – Passive Voice

Syntax

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Introduction

The passive form expresses the idea of something or someone receiving an action or experiencing a particular event or effect. {see Passive Structure, B1 level and Passive Voice of Verbs, B2 level}

After some verbs, we could find two objects in the active voice, but in the passive voice, those objects could have a different role in the sentence.

Form

After some verbs, we could find two objects: an indirect object and a direct object.

The most commonly used are: give, lend, send, show

The structure is:
Subject [direct object] + passive verb + indirect object + (by + agent)…
Subject [indirect object] + passive verb + direct object + (by + agent)…

Example

  • Daily newspapers were given to him every day (by his secretary).
  • Powerpoints about the revolution of fashion were shown to students (by their teacher).
  • A book was lent to Jessica (by the librarian).
  • A letter was sent to the editor (by my father).
  • A bath robe was offered to Jake (by his friend).

Use

The passive form of the verbs with two objects is used to put focus either on the direct object or the indirect object of the sentence in the active form (when they become the subject of the sentence in the passive form).

We use it also to create a more complex sentence in terms of syntax.

Summary

After some verbs, we could find two objects. In the passive voice, those objects could have a different role in the sentence. The passive form of the verbs with two objects is used to change the focus between the direct object and the indirect object, when they are placed as the subject of the passive sentence.

The most commonly used verbs with two objects are: give, lend, send, show…

The structure of the sentence in the passive voice is:

  • We start with the subject of the sentence, which was the direct object of the active sentence, followed by the verb in the passive form, the indirect object (of the active sentence) and maybe by the preposition by and an agent.
  • We start with the subject of the sentence, which was the indirect object of the active sentence, followed by the verb in the passive form, the direct object (of the active sentence) and maybe by the preposition by and an agent.

For example:
“The doll was given to the little girl (by her aunt).” = The focus is on the direct object the doll.
“The little girl was given a doll (by her aunt).” = The focus is on the indirect object the little girl.
“Her aunt gave a doll to the little girl” = In the active form, we can notice which one is the direct and the indirect object.

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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