The Passive Voice (Part 2)

Hello everyone!

Last January we wrote a post about the passive voice (you can check it out here) but we told you that it was part 1! So today we are going to take a look at 2 other types of passives (usually for Intermediate students and above) which can be quite tricky to master.

Let’s take a look at the following active sentence:

People say that Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses alive

This sentence expresses a general opinion or thought and therefore can be transformed into an impersonal passive simply changing the beginning (People say) for a passive using the impersonal pronoun it and then transforming the verb into its passive form we saw in The Passive Voice (Part 1):

People say that Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses alive

It is said that Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses alive

So far so good, right? However, if we analise the sentence we’ll notice that there is an object in that sentence, an indirect object to be precise. Who are people saying things about? – Meryl Streep. That’s our object! We have found the subject of our passive sentence.

In order to write this passive properly we need to be aware of the fact that in this sentence there are two verbs:

People say that Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses alive

The first verb (say) is the one we will put in the passive form:

Maryl Streep is said

So, what happens to the second verb (is)? The answer is straightforward: We always put it in its full infinitive form:

Maryl Streep is said to be….

and add the rest of the sentence without changing anything else:

Meryl Streep is said to be one of the best actresses alive.

There it is! A new passive! Let’s do another one!

People think that Messi plays better than any other footballer

STEP 1: Identify the object


STEP 2: Put the first verb into its passive form

Messi is thought…

STEP 3: Add the second verb in its full infinitive form (to + verb infinitive)

Messi is thought to play…

STEP 4: Write the rest of the sentence without changing anything else

Messi is thought to play better than any other footballer.

We have our passive!

As you have probably realized, we don’t use this type of passive in Spanish so it is often difficult for students to form it. It is used mainly in formal language (both written and spoken although the latter is uncommon), just like the impersonal passive.

Now it is your turn, challenge yourself and give it a go! Clic on the following document to practise! Mind you, the exercises include all types of passives! The challenge is to form as many passives as possible with each active sentence!

Passive Exercises

Gook luck!

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