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passive voice

Passive voice


Passive voice - general
passive - report structures
have sthg done

The passive voice is made with the auxiliary verb to be and the past participle. The auxiliary shows the tense. The rubbish is collected every day. (present simple) My suit is being cleaned. (present continuous) He Read more


The following ESL resources are available for Passive voice:

worksheets (13)
book references (17)
quiz (6)
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Bank robbery story - passive voice
News story with three tasks: ordering, retelling the story from prompts and grammar gap-fill. (4 sheets)
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Find someone who - passives
Find someone who (16 to find). Practices present simple, present continuous, past simple, present perfect, going to and passive modals. Includes an answer sheet from the question forms.
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New passive mini-scrabble
105-card mini scrabble


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News stories
Six short news stories (Hong Kong related). Students identify passive voice examples and say why they are used (first three examples); Gap fill from verb prompts (second three). This is quite challenging and includes examples of reduced relative clauses using passive and active participles.


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Passive dominoes
Dominoes game for past / present / present perfect tenses - bank robbery theme


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Passive mini-scrabble
Sentence re-assembly. 49 cards.


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Passive snakes and ladders
30 cards - multiple-choice and error correction. Focuses on errors related to intransitive verbs (happen, arrive etc.) and verbs that are often used intransitively (start, open etc.)
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Passives quiz-making
Students in two teams are given seven skeleton sentences containing general knowledge facts (2 Hong Kong-related). (1) They expand the skeleton sentence to form statements. (2) They produce questions from question word prompts. (3) Ask the other team their quiz questions. Includes present continuous, future, passive report structures and passives with modals.


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Passives worksheet
Ss fill in all different forms of passive, then analyze small groups of sentences to consolidate their understanding of rules on when to use the passive + common errors - trying to use intransitive verbs to form the passive. (Updated with answers 23-04-15)


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The president has been shot
News story gap fill to practice the written forms of different tenses in the passive voice. Step-by-step instructions included.
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Multiple choice (analysis) quiz
Fourteen 2-choice questions in which users have to choose the correct explanation of what the sentences mean


Passives - multiple choice quiz (advanced)
Fifteen-question, 2-option quiz including present perfect, modal auxiliaries etc.


Passives multiple choice quiz 1
Mulitple-choice quiz illustrating the difference between passive and active forms.


Passive or active?
Twelve-question multiple-choice quiz.


Passive or active? Wine making
Fifteen sentences describing the process of wine making. The user must choose either an active or passive form.


Use and forms of the passive voice
Ten-question multiple-choice quiz with feedback



General English course books (adults)

Inside Out Student's Book Intermediate book cover 

Inside Out Student's Book Intermediate

Susan Kay   Vaughan Jones   
Unit 6 News  Pages 50 - 55
(1) Ss read article Paparazzi and analyze sentences from the text to find the 3 main reasons for using the passive: agent unknown / agent obvious / focus attention. (2) Gapped news stories for practice. (3) Find someone who speaking practice.
Unit 8 Review 1  Page 70 
Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate book cover 

Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate

Vaughan Jones   Susan Kay   
Unit 13 Home  Page 128 
Unit 14 Review 2  Page 134 
New Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate students' book book cover 

New Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate students' book

Sarah Cunningham   Peter Moore   
Module 12 Got to have it  Pages 108 - 109
Grammar: present simple passive and past simple passive.
Consolidation modules 11 - 15  Page 139 
New Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate students' book book cover 

New Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate students' book

Peter Moore   Sarah Cunningham   
Module 4 The mind  Pages 44 - 45  Language Focus - the passive
Reading: extract from IQ test and short passage about MENSA. Analysis of sentences. Text with multiple-choice for practice
Consolidation module 1 - 4  Pages 50 - 50  Active and passive verb forms
New Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate book cover 

New Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate

Susan Kay   Vaughan Jones   
Unit 6 Eat  Page 63   Passives review

Photocopiable resource books

Grammar Activities 2 - Upper Intermediate book cover 

Grammar Activities 2 - Upper Intermediate

Will Forsyth   Sue Lavender   
43 - 46 Passives - mixed tenses  Pages 43 - 46
(43) Gapped sentences with pictures. Mixed tenses. (44) Match sentences and pictures (45) Active or passive? (46) Active or passive?
Play Games with English Book 2 (1981-8) book cover 

Play Games with English Book 2 (1981-8)

Colin Granger   John Plumb   
By whom? page 10  Page 10 
Past simple passives. Seven Pics (buildings, books etc) to be matched with a verb and their authors / builders etc. (Hemingway, Sir Christopher Wren etc. Names may not be familiar outside Europe)
Spot the difference 5 page 48  Page 48 
Present perfect passive. Two pictures of a house. Before and after renovation. Ss make sentences using present perfect passive, 'The front door has been mended'.

Grammar books with exercises

Developing Grammar in Context book cover 

Developing Grammar in Context

Mark Nettle   Diana Hopkins   
26 The passive  Pages 151 - 156
27 Verbs confused with the passive  Pages 157 - 162
Verbs confused with passive

General English adult course resource packs

Reward Intermediate Resource Pack book cover 

Reward Intermediate Resource Pack

Susan Kay   
28a and 28b amazing facts  Page 28 
Noughts and crosses with general knowledge questions using passive voice (present and past)
Reward Pre-Intermediate Resource Pack  book cover 

Reward Pre-Intermediate Resource Pack

Sue Kay   
34 What do you know about the world?  Page 34 
Tewenty-question multiple-choice quiz on world general knowledge.
Reward Upper-intermediate Resource Pack book cover 

Reward Upper-intermediate Resource Pack

Susan Kay   
13a & b What is it?  Page 13 
Ss in teams have to guess inventions from descriptions of them that use the passive voice.


Comparison with as...as...

Comparison with <i>as</i>...</i>as...</as>: picture
Detailed grammar reference notes on comparison with as....
Three pages, illustrated. Includes positive and negative forms, modifiers and common similes.
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Download Comparison with as...as - grammar notes (PDF)

ESL lesson plans

Reading and vocabulary: workplace discrimination

Reading and vocabulary: workplace discrimination: picture
Work clothing vocabulary.
News story in graded English about woman who was sent home for refusing to wear high-heeled shoes.
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Download Dress code (PDF)

ESL lesson plans

Reading and vocabulary: How Donald Trump got rich: a tale of three Trumps

Reading and vocabulary: How Donald Trump got rich: a tale of three Trumps: picture
Three articles in graded English on the Trump family, charting the creation of the Trump fortune.
Pre-reading section on well-known business leaders. (PDF version)
Lead-in on the Trump family. (PDF version)
Jigsaw reading for groups of three on Donald Trump, his father and grandfather.
Grammar follow-up on participle clauses (PDF advanced version)
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Download A Tale of Three Trumps (PDF)
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Download A Tale of Three Trumps (Advanced) (PDF)