PASSIVE VOICE
What it is? How do I
use it?
Creating Passive
Use a “be” verb: was, were, has been
Use the past participle
was + broken
are + spoken
has been + reported
There are two types of
sentences
Active
Passive
Active: I broke the window.
Passive: The window was broken.
Subject?
I broke the window.
What’s the subject?
I
The window was broken.
What’s the subject?
???
Subject?
The house was scorched.
What’s the subject of this sentence?
The house was scorched.
To find the subject ask yourself, what
scorched?
Did the house scorch?
The house was scorched.
No, the house didn’t scorch.
Did the fire scorch? It could.
The dragon’s fire breath? YUP! The
dragon’s breath scorch. But you
didn’t know that did you?
Active Voice
Active Voice: The subject is stated.
Dr. Green delivered the baby at 2pm
yesterday.
Who delivered the baby?
Green
Dr.
Passive Voice
Passive Voice: The subject is not
clearly stated or comes at the end.
The baby was delivered at 2pm.
Who delivered the baby?
???
Passive Voice
You can use the subject in object form.
The baby was delivered at 2pm by Dr.
Green.
Reason
Most of the time no one knows the
name of the doctor who delivered the
baby, nor do they care. The focus is
on the baby. Therefore, who
delivered the baby is not important.
Active Voice
The newspaper reported several
murders in the area.
Here the author wants you to know
that the information was in the
newspaper.
Passive Voice
Many murders have been reported in
the area.
Here the author feels where the
information was found or who stated
the information is not important. The
focus is on the murders.
Active Voice
The mouse ate the cheese. It was one
of the sneakiest creatures I had ever
seen.
Here the focus is on the mouse. The
second sentence talks about the
mouse.
Passive Voice
The cheese was eaten by the mouse.
It was the kind I didn’t like, so I
wasn’t too upset.
Here the focus is on the cheese. The
second sentence talks about the
cheese.
Passive Voice
Many people will say that passive
voice shouldn’t be used often. This is
probably true. It is wordier many
times.
However, passive voice is good if you
want to stress the object of the
sentence, rather than the subject.
Examples
When you’re talking about a book and
want to mention who wrote it. What
would say?
Book: “Understanding Grammar”
Author: Betty Azar
Passive Voice
The author isn’t that important to many
people.
“Understanding Grammar” was written
by Betty Azar.
Passive Voice
When you are looking at paintings and
want to mention who painted it, what
would you say?
Painting: The Sunflower
Painter: Leonardo DiVinci
Passive Voice
Let’s say you don’t know who broke
the window but it is broken. I ask you
what happened to the window.
Create a sentence starting with “The
window”. Express that it broke and
use a “be” verb.
Passive Voice
The window was broken.
The window is broken.
The window has been broken.
The important thing is the window.
Who broke it isn’t important in this
sentence.
Inventions
What Am I?
Many people wear me everyday. I come in
pants, shorts, skirts, jumpers and jackets.
Normally I am blue but sometimes I’m
sold in an assortment of colors. Levi
Strauss made me in 1860. What Am I?
Jeans
QuickTime™ and a
decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Now, make it passive
Levi Strauss created jeans.
Jeans were created by _____________.
Many people wear jeans.
Jeans are worn by ________________.
Jeans were created in 1860.
In 1860, jeans were _______________.
What Am I?
I’m fizzy and refreshing. Many people
drink me at lunch and dinner. I’m dark in
color and come in a variety of flavors.
Dr. John Pemberton, a druggist, invented
me in Atlanta, Georgia in 1886. What am
I?
Coca-Cola
QuickTime™ and a
decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Now, make it passive!
Coke was created by _____________.
Coke was created in
___________(town).
Coke was invented in
__________(year).
What Am I?
I make men look snazzy. People wear me
to weddings and special events.
Griswold Lorillard was the first to wear
me in 1886. He was a rich man from
Tuxedo Park, New York. What am I?
Tuxedo
QuickTime™ and a
decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Now, make it passive!
The first tuxedo _________ by
_______.
It was created __________ (date).