Unit 4.2

Verbs Not Used in Passive

Verbs

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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}

The verbs that cannot be made passive are usually the intransitive verbs, but also some of the transitive ones.

Form

The verbs that cannot be formed in the passive form are mostly intransitive verbs. The most commonly used intransitive verbs are: arrive, go, lie…

There are also other verbs, certain state verbs, that we cannot use in the passive form, such as: belong, have, lack…

We use intransitive verbs and the other verbs that don’t form passive as normal verbs.

NOTE: An intransitive verb is a verb that doesn’t take an object.

Example

  • was running because I had to deliver the message by hand.
  • She has a serious injury.
  • This room lacks in fresh air.
  • A private letter from the government has arrived.
  • Babies were crying because they were feeling cold.

Use

There are no clear rules about this topic, therefore students have to learn by experience which verbs cannot be used in the passive form.

Summary

Verbs that cannot be used in the passive form are usually the intransitive verbs. There are also some others that even though they are transitive, they cannot be made passive, such as: belong, have, lack… All these verbs are used as normal verbs. There aren’t any clear rules about this topic, therefore students have to learn by experience which verbs cannot be used in the passive form.

The most commonly used intransitive verbs are: arrive, go, lie…

For example:
— “John has low blood pressure.
— “My dog lies on the floor all day.” 

NOTE: An intransitive verb is a verb that doesn’t take an 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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