This slideshow page is to explain and give practice on the passive voice.
It is common to use passive structures in academic writing because in many cases, the agent (the person/people/organisation etc. who do/does the action) of an action is less important than the action itself. You form the passive by using a form of the auxiliary be (e.g. am, is, are, was, were, been, be) and the past participle of a main verb (e.g. written, spoken, listened). Past participles are also used in present perfect verbs; e.g. I have written an essay, and are sometimes different from past tense verbs; e.g. I wrote an essay.
Passive structures are impossible with intransitive verbs (which do not take objects; e.g. arrive) as there is nothing to become the subject of the passive sentence (e.g. Wrong: The party was arrived at by me. Correct: I arrived at the party.). Stative verbs, which refer to states rather than actions, are also seldom used in the passive.
Some other stative verbs are: seem, have, suit and resemble.
Choose the correct option from the drop-down boxes, then click the 'Show Answers' button button below:
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hits since 23 September 2004.