This lesson looks at all of the grammar tenses. For a lesson with only Present and Past Simple, go here.
You can use the Passive Voice to move the listener’s attention and focus. Look at the following example.
The man in the green jacket stole my bicycle!
This is a normal, active sentence. It’s: SUBJECT + VERB + COMPLIMENT (in this case, an object).
This is a great sentence. If fact, we should continue to use active sentences most of the time. But here, I don’t want to focus on the man in the green jacket. I am not interested in who stole by bicycle. I want to emphasis the action and/or the object, not the subject. And so I will use the passive voice. I will say:
My bicycle was stolen by the man in the green jacket!
I could even just say:
My bicycle was stolen!
The structure is always the same. It is always:
OBJECT+ TO BE +PAST PARTICIPLE +(BY +SUBJECT).
Hurray! Something easy! Just follow this structure and you’ll get it right.
But wait. There are still a couple more things to consider. We need to look at what to do with the auxiliary verb “to be”, and we need to talk about subject and object pronouns.
THE VERB “TO BE”:
Review the active and passive sentences in the box above. What tense is the verb in the active sentence? What tense is the verb “to be”? What about in the following examples?
ACTIVE: I EAT an apple.
PASSIVE: An apple IS eaten by me.
ACTIVE: ARE you WATCHING the bike race on TV?
PASSIVE: IS the bike race BEING watched on TV by you?
ACTIVE: John HAS RIDDEN my bike.
PASSIVE: My bike HAS BEEN ridden by John.
Here is a chart for you to refer to:
Give it a try. Can you make these sentences passive?
SUBJECT PRONOUNS AND OBJECT PRONOUNS:
Can you identify the pronouns in these sentences? What happens with them? Let’s talk about it.
ACTIVE: I ride my bike every day.
PASSIVE: My bike is ridden by me every day.
ACTIVE: He owns a nice, red bike.
PASSIVE: A nice, red bike is owned by him.
ACTIVE: They repaired their bikes.
PASSIVE: Their bikes were repaired by them.
Check out a reading about bicycles to continue practicing.
Do you need a list of Past Participles? You can find it here.