Active and Passive Voice (Part Four)

Skill: Grammar  

Category: General English & Academic English

Level: Upper-Intermediate

Active and Passive Voice (Part Four)

The Passive Form of Modals Modals + be + Past Participle
Positive Form
Elena will be invited to the party .
Chinese can’t be taught to children as a second language.
This letter should be mailed by tomorrow.
The computer might be sold.
The book ought to be read by next week.
Past Passive
                        Modals            +         have been       +          past participle
The car should                        have been                    sold last week.           
This ancient house must                      have been                    built over hundred years ago.
The principal of the university ought to have been invited to the graduation ceremony.

Exercise. Complete the sentences with the verbs in parenthesis using modal or phrasal modal verbs.

1- She is wearing a ring on her finger. She (marry) _____________________________________________

2- I found this pencil on the chair when I entered the class. It (leave) __________________________ by one of the students.

3- As our teacher said, all of our assignment (write) __________________________ by pencil. He won’t accept typing them through computer. 

Non-progressive passive

When passive is used in non-progressive form, it usually describes a situation or state. In non-progressive passive, 1) there is no action to take place because the action happened before 2) there is no by-phrase and 3) the past participle is used as an adjective.


Nate broke the chair.

The chair was broken by Nate.

Now the chair is broken.

Note. Other prepositions—except by—can be used in non-progressive passive verbs.

Ex: I am interested in reading.

They are satisfied with their life situation.

Nate is married to Elizabeth.

Exercise. Use simple present or past to complete the sentences with non-progressive passive.

1- Franklin is wearing a yellow t-shirt. It (make) __________________________ of silk.

2- The lamps in our neighbor’s room (turn) __________________________ on.

3- The city (crowd, not) ________________________________________.

Passive with “Get”

Get + Adjective

Get can follow specific adjectives. Get gives the idea of: becoming, beginning to be, and growing to be.

Ex: I am getting tired. I wasn’t tired before but now I am beginning to be tired.

Ex: I stopped running because I got hungry.

Get + past participle

Get can also be followed by ‘past participle’ and the past participle functions as an adjective to describe the subject.

No: Passive with get is used in spoken, but in writing it is informal.

Ex: I got dressed.

Ex: They are getting married next week.

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