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THE PASSIVE. UNIT 19. Passive vs Active Sentence. The president asked the employees to speak English. (active) The employees were asked to speak English. (passive) ***A passive sentence and an active sentence have similar meanings, ***but the focus of the sentence is different.

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passive vs active sentence
Passive vs Active Sentence
  • The president asked the employees to speak English. (active)
  • The employees were asked to speak English. (passive)

***A passive sentence and an active sentence have similar meanings,

***but the focus of the sentence is different.

***In the PASSIVE sentence, the focus in on the action, the person, or the thing receiving the action.

in active sentences the agent the doer of the action is in the subject position
In ACTIVE sentences, the agent (the doer of the action) is in the subject position

People spoke English at the meeting. (active)



English was spoken by people at the meeting




the agent not always necessary
The agent not always necessary
  • English was spoken at the meeting. (We assume people were doing the speaking.)
  • ***Use the by + agent phrase is the agent is important or if the meaning of the sentence would be unclear without it.

The internet is dominated by English.

The Internet is dominated. (By who or what?)

transitive vs intransitive
Transitive vs Intransitive
  • Transitive verbs are the ones that take an object and they can be used in the passive.
  • Someone saw her at the conference.(Active)
  • She was seen at the conference.(passive)
  • Intransitive verbs are the ones that do not take an object and they cannot be used in the passive.
  • I feel asleep. (Only active)


Include, appear, arrive, come, die, fall, go, happen, live, look, occur, sit, smile, stay, wait, walk

***Born is the past form of bear. Born is used almost exclusively in the passive.

I was born in a small town.

  • Call, concern, do, expect, find, give know, leave, lose, make, put, see, take, use
passive forms with direct and indirect object
Passive Forms with Direct and Indirect Object
  • Some verbs, such as give, offer, show, and tell can have two objects: a direct and indirect objects.
  • The team gave the manager the report.

indirect direct obj

  • The manager was given the report by the team.
  • The report was given to the manager by the team.
reasons for using the passive
Reasons for using the passive

***Describe a process or a result.

First, the information was studied. Then recommendations were made. Therefore, English was made the official language of the company in 2010.

***Use passive when you don’t know who performed the action.

The report was poorly written.

***Use it to report news events.

Recommendations for the teaching of languages were published today.

get passive
  • For get passive, use GET + V3
  • The storm destroyed the crops(Active)
  • The crops got destroyed(Passive)
  • For negative, use don’t/doesn’t get + V3
      • The crops don’t get destroyed.
      • The crops didn’t get destroyed.
  • For question;
  • Do the crops get destroyed?
  • Did the crops get destroyed?
using get passive
Using get passive
  • We use get passive to talk about negative situations or situations we think are beyond our control.
  • Some food companies are getting fined for using unsafe equipment.
  • She got arrested and charged with murder.
  • The get passive is more common in speaking.