Never be passive in life! But if you are, make sure it is only because of grammar!

So you might have heard expressions such as ‘The Lord of the Rings was written by Tolkien’. ‘Harry Potter was written by J.K Rowling’ and yes, the animals in your local zoo are fed by the same guy on Tuesday morning. What do all these sentences have in common? Pretty simple to tell at your level, right? The passive voice. All of these sentences use it. So that’s what you will learn today in the advanced English course.

Let’s do this!

Curso de inglés B2 – The passive voice

The passive voice is one of the best resources you can use for a good English level, especially if you’re preparing an official exam such as FCE Cambridge exam. You can show off using it because it represents an advanced level and a formal register, which is handy for your writing (if you’re doing a report, essay, etc).

The nuts and bolts of the passive voice is as simple as follows:

In the Active voice (the normal or most common one) you will normally get a subject followed by a verb, then an object: ‘I wrote a book’ (‘I’ is subject, ‘wrote’ is verb and ‘a book’ is the object).

In this type of sentence, what we want to emphasize or what we focus on is the subject, the doer of the action, the person who performs the action of the verb. Other examples would be: Peter reads a lot of books, Emma made a delicious meal, John created a website, etc.

So that’s the active voice, and I know you’re pretty familiar with it. So what’s different in the passive one? The passive voice changes or turns the object into the main element of the sentence, it turns it into the subject. So object becomes subject. Here, the action is the real emphasis of the sentence, not its doer. Pay attention here:

I wrote a book (Active Voice)

A book was written by me (Passive Voice)

The object, which was at the end in the first sentence, goes to the first position. The main verb is the verb ‘to be’, and we use the participle right after it. If you want to mention who the agent was, you have to use the preposition “by”. That’s why you normally see this in the streets, when you see graffiti art on walls: by Pepe! (it really means, made by Pepe, it was made by Pepe).

What you’re going to learn in this podcast

What the main differences are between Active and Passive Voice

When to use this type of structure and why you might want to use it

When to use the passive voice with the verb “to get”

How to use the passive voice with reporting verbs

Now move your ass!

So that’s about it for the passive voice. One of the key elements in a well-structured and rounded writing, for example. Useful when writing in a formal register and very, very commonly used in daily conversations, all over the place.

I hope you learned with this class and especially that you do something about it, more than passively listen to it. If you’re reading this class and aren’t part of the free email mini-course, go here and get a copy of my last ebook to start improving your level like never before 🙂

Take care and I’ll see you very soon!

<< Curso de inglés B2 FCE: as and like