Passive Voice

Which one is passive and which one is active?

Click the green words to link to audio!

I speak English.
English is spoken in Australia.

I understand Japanese.
Japanese is not widely understood outside Japan.

My aunt raised me.
I was raised in France.

Many languages are spoken in India.
He speaks many languages.

It is made in Japan.
They make them in Thailand now.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are not unified now.
They were unified during the Soviet era.

Passive Voice

This is a high level grammar topic.

There are two voices: passive and active.

Passive Voice

Kangaroos are found only in Australia.

The Kangaroo is found only in Australia.

Active Voice

You can find kangaroos only in Australia.

You find kangaroos only in Australia.

Compare these:

1. Active Voice
Australian people speak English.

2. Passive Voice

English is spoken in Australia (by Australian people).

Note that the object (English) became the subject.

Passive is formed by adding the past participle to the “be” verb.

speak and speaks become is spoken and are spoken

understand and understands become is understood and are understood

Practice Passive Voice in a Discussion

We often use passive voice to describe how things are made and to explain how things are done. It emphasizes the process over the people.

Listen to the conversation (London Accent) and then use the internet to answer these questions:

Compare answers with your classmates:

Where is heroin produced?
What is it made from?
Where is opium produced?
What is it made from?
Where is marijuana produced?
What is it made from?
Where is ecstasy produced?
What is it made from?
What is ketamine?
What is ice?
Are drugs and crime linked in your community?

Drug Related Crime in Mexico

An Almanac episode with an article on a drug related crime.

Passive Voice in Reading

: You can see a text with many examples of passive voice by clicking the link: (The Banjo Player’s brother – full text)

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Passive Voice in Context

Growing Grapes

Reporting a Robbery