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Passive Voice: special cases
Focus Grammar
Description Let's practise advanced passive voice. See the active sentence and think of the most probable passive equivalent for it.
Instructions 1- Look at the sentences and think of a passive equivalent for them 2- Move your mouse over the black button to check your answer. 3- If you were right, click on the green button, if wrong, click on the red.
Item Match Comments
You've paid a gardener to plant trees in your garden You've had trees planted in your garden
She gave me a present I was given a present also:
- I was given a present by her
- A present was given to me (by her)
The police believes he is the murderer He is believed to be the murderer Also:
It is believed that he is the murderer
People say that you look fantastic You are said to look fantastic Also:
It is said that you look fantastic
My family find you very cute You're found to be very cute Also:
It is found that you are very cute
We won't make you open it You won't be made to open it
They find it difficult to believe It's found difficult to believe Also:
It's found that it is difficult to believe
People heard the bomb explode The bomb was heard to explode
People knew it was dangerous It was known to be dangerous Also:
It was known that it was dangerous
They told me a secret I was told a secret Also:
- A secret was told to me
They heard him enter the house He was heard to enter the house
Experts consider that this painting is a fake This painting is considered to be a fake Also:
It is considered that this painting is a fake
She will pay some people to remove all the furniture She will have all the furniture removed
They showed me a photo of her I was shown a photo of her Also:
- A photo of her was shown to me
People elected him chairman of the new firm He was elected chairman of the new firm
This medicine made me sleep I was made to sleep by this medicine
She let me see her baby I was allowed to see her baby
Mike paid someone to redecorate his house Mike had his house redecorated
I paid a man to paint my room I had my room painted
People consider me very good at this I'm considered to be very good at this Also:
It is considered that I'm very good at this
They say you've been away You're said to have been away Also:
It is said that you have been away
We paid a mechanic to repair our car, but he didn't do it We didn't have our car repaired
They say that he is here He is said to be here Also:
It is said that he is here
We saw him cross the road He was seen to cross the road
They say that winter is very cold here Winter is said to be very cold here Also:
It is said that winter is very cold here
Total number of items: 25
This is an activity from Multimedia-English


    have   +   object   +    past participle   

The idea behind this construction is "I got someone to do something for me" (especially when you pay for the service)

I had my car cleaned = I employed someone to clean my car
I'll have my hair cut = I'll pay a hair-dresser to cut my hair
I've had my roof repaired = I've hired someone to repair my roof
I'm having my kids looked after = A friend's taking care of them for me


- I cut my hair yesterday I did it myself, so I probably look horrible
- I had my hair cut yesterday I went to the hairdresser's and they cut my hair

In this construction "to have" is a normal verb, and so needs DO
    - Do you have your windows cleaned every month? - No, I don't have them cleaned so often



Some verbs have two objects (direct and indirect). In that case we can use two constructions:

1-    Ron gave some flowers to Mary
2-    Ron gave Mary some flowers

In English, both constructions can be turned into passive voice:

1-    Some flowers were given to Mary
2-    Mary was given some flowers

Option 2 is not possible in many languages, but in English it is the most usual choice.

They told me a secret A secret was told to me = I was told a secret



When the object of the active voice is a whole sentence (connected with that), we have again two possibilities, the one with infinitive is the most usual:

They say (that) he is ill           It is said (that) he is ill
He is said to be ill



Something similar happens with verbs of opinion: say, think, expect, know, believe, understand, consider, find... These verbs may use the construction of verbs with two objects (1) or verbs followed by a sentence (2) as seen above. The second option, with infinitive, is the most used:

1- They considered me a tourist 
It was considered (that) I was a tourist

I was considered to be a tourist

2- They think (that) I am a spy 
It am thought (that) I was a spy

I am thought to be a spy

2- People belive it is true
It was believed (that) it was a true

It was believed to be a true



Verbs of the senses, help and make (but not let), which are followed by infinitive without to in the active voice, are, nevertheless, followed by a complete infinitive in the passive.

Active: They made me do it    
They saw him leave
They let us go
Passive:         I was made to do it    He was seen to leave   We were let go