Learning English Grammmar | when do I use the passive verbs?



English Grammar | how to use passive verbs

Many people have been died because of this disease. [incorrect]
Many people have died because of this disease. [correct]

This data took from 1982 and 1992. [incorrect]
This data was taken from 1982 and 1992. [correct]


With active verbs we usually use the following order: subject + verb + object.
We use the passive when we want to put the object of the verb first: object + verb.

Compare:
The teacher told the students to close their books. = active (subject + verb + object)
The students were told to close their books. = passive (object + verb)

We use the passive:
• when we want to make the object the focus of the sentence: The books were sold for a small profit at the school. (the focus is on the books, not the person selling them)

Note that the verb (were) agrees with the object (the books).

• when the context tells us who carried out the action: A law was introduced to help protect people in this situation. (we know that the government did this)
• when it is not important who carried out the action: In the factory, the shoes are cleaned and packed into boxes ready for sale. (we do not need to know who does this)

Note that we can include the 'subject' by adding by + the person/ group: A lot of waste materials could be recycled by large manufacturers.

See more common English grammar mistakes


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