Unit 42. Passive (3)

Some verbs can have two objects. For example, offer:

  • They didn’t offer Ann the job. (the two objects are Ann and the job)

    So it is possible to make two different passive sentences:

  • Ann wasn’t offered the job.

  • The job wasn’t offered to Ann. It is more usual for the passive sentence to begin with the person. Other verbs like offer that can have two objects are:

    Here are some examples of passive sentences with these verbs:

  • I was given two hours to make my decision. (= they gave me two hours)
  • The men were paid $1500 to do the job. (= someone paid the men $1500)
  • Have you been shown the new machine? (= has anyone shown you the new machine?)
    B. Born: Remember that be born is a passive verb and is usually past:

    The passive -ing form is being done / being cleaned, etc.: Active: I don’t like people telling me what to do. Passive: I don’t like being told what to do.

  • I remember being given a toy drum on my fifth birthday. (= I remember someone giving me .. .)

  • Hurry up! You know Mr. Miller hates being kept waiting. (= he hates people keeping him waiting)

  • She climbed over the wall without being seen. (= without anyone seeing her)

    Sometimes you can use get instead of be in the passive:

  • There was a fight at the party, but nobody got hurt. (= nobody was hurt)

  • Did Ann get fired from her new job? (= was Ann fired from her new job?) You can use get in the passive to say that something happens to someone or something. Often the action is not planned; it happens by chance:

  • The dog got run over by a car. (= the dog was run over) In other types of situation get is not usually possible:

  • George is liked by everyone, (not gets liked)

    Get is used mainly in informal spoken English. You can use be in all situations.

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