Phrasal verbs in the Passive Voice

blow down- to fall by blowing

Several trees were blown down by the storm last night.

call up- to order (someone) to join the armed forces

He was called up in 1996.

give up- to stop believing that someone can be saved espe­cially from death

The boy was given up for lost.

hold up -delay

The building of the new road has been held up by bad weather.

knock down- to destroy a building (bridge) by means of blows

Our house is being knocked down to give way for a new road.

let down- to cause (someone) to be disappointed in one's loy­alty, fail to keep a promise to someone

It was difficult to believe that he had been let down by his friend.

point out- to draw attention to something or someone

Not all the mistakes in Bob' written test were pointed out.

pull down- to break to pieces and destroy something

Half the houses in the street are being pulled down to make room for the new post-office.

put off - to move to a later date, delay

Their wedding has been put off.

run over(of a vehicle or its driver) - to knock down and pass over the top of

They had a dog but it got run over.

see off - to go to the airport, station, etc.

When he was going away he was seen off by all friends at the airport.

Phraseological Units in the Passive Voice

do away with- cause to end, abolish

All these silly restrictions should he done away with.

find fault with- to complain, perhaps too much or too often

The poor child is always found fault with.

lose sight of- to cease to see, to forget

At last the ship was lost sight of.

to make use of- to use well, to take advantage of

These are good examples. They should he made use of in the report.

make fun of- to laugh or cause others to laugh rather unkindly

She is often made fun of because she wears such strange hats.

pay attention to- to take notice of

All his remarks were paid little attention to.

put an endto - to stop from happening any more

This state of affairs will be put an end to.

put up with- to accept an unpleasant situation or person with­out complaining

Her attitude to her duties can be put up with.

set fire to- to light (something) not really meant to burn, set something on fire

The house was set fire to in the middle of the night.

take (good) care of- to be responsible for someone or some­thing

/ hope the child will be taken good care of.

take notice of- to pay attention to

She said something but her words were taken no notice of.


1. Analyse the use of passive forms. Compose the dialogue by


Mary has just come from work. Neil is already there.

MARY: Hi! I'm back. Sorry I'm late.

NEIL: Hello. What kept you?

MARY: I had to use the ring road and I was stuck in a traffic

jam for forty minutes.

NEIL: Why didn't you use the usual route?

MARY: Because the road is closed until work on the access

road to the new hospital is completed.

NEIL: When is it due to be finished?

MARY: Well, the access road will be opened by the Mayor next week, according to the newspaper, and the Health Minister has been invited to open the hospital on the same day, but they don't know yet whether she's definitely coming.

NEIL: A lot of money w ill have been wasted if she doesn't come.

MARY: Why's that?

NEIL: Haven't you seen all those rose bushes that have been planted round the hospital?

MARY: So? They' 11 be lovely for the patients.

NEIL: But the patients won't be able to see them, because they're round the entrance, and the wards look out in the other direction. A lot of people protested about it, but all their complaints were ignored until it was too late.

MARY: If they had money to spare, it should have been spent on facilities for patients, not on making the look pretty for the Minister.

NEIL: Absolutely. It's typical of this local council. They were elected to save money, but they do just opposite.

MARY: Perhaps they will be thrown out at the next election.

NEIL: I hope so. Now, are you ready for supper?

2. Choose the right variant active or passive. Discuss the same

situation in your group (team, society).

Cindy and Petra are members of a volleyball team.

CINDY: Why wasn't Clare at the training session?

PETRA: Haven't you heard? She's been thrown / threw out for stealing.

CINDY: No! Really?

PETRA: Yes. She was seen / saw taking money from some­one's bag in the changing room when she saw / was seen Clare with Karen's bag.

CINDY: Oh dear. That's terrible!

PETRA: Clare said she had been told / had told to fetch the

money by Karen but when Karen was asked / has asked about it, she said she didn't know / was known what Clare was talking about.

CINDY: But how stupid of Karen to leave money in the changing room!

PETRA: Yes. She was told / told that by the manager too.

CINDY: She won't do / will be done it again, anyhow.

PETRA: No, I guess not. What do you think Clare will do / will be done now?

CINDY: I don't know. This is the second club she has been asked / has asked to leave, isn't it?

PETRA: Yes. It's hard to know what can be done / do for someone like Clare.

3. Give all the possible ways of translating the following sen­tences.

1. Tables are usually made of wood. 2. The article was translated with a dictionary. 3. The meeting will be organized in the big hall. 4. All the students of our group had been asked by the examiner by 3 o'clock. 5. My friend was being asked by the teacher when I entered the classroom. 6. Children are forbidden to play on the pavement. 7.1 hate to be bothered during my work. 8.1 have never been asked to meet them. 9. Let me know if my help is needed. 10. The young doctor was helped by his teacher. 11. People learning foreign lan­guages are advised to read foreign literature in the original. 12. He was called out of the room at this point. 13. In muse­ums visitors are asked not to touch the exhibits. 14. The doc­tor was sent for. 15. He was always laughed at. 16. My chil­dren are looked after by my grandmother. 17. This film was much spoken about. 18. She was given a nice cat. 19. She was looked for everywhere. 20. He is known as the best worker at the plant.

4. Complete the following passive voice sentences in the tenses suggested.

1.This picture admire always. (Present Ind.) 2. His leg hurt in accident. (Past Ind.) 3. This exercise do very carefully. (Present Cont.) 4. The box not open for thee last hundred years. (Present Perf.) 5. The Tower of London formally use as a prison. (Past Ind.) 6. Two of my dinner plates break. (Present Perf.) 7. A big battle fight here 200 years ago. (Past Ind.) 8. You invite to lunch tomorrow. (Future Ind.) 9. English speak all over the world. (Present Ind.) 10. The bridge build last year. (Past. Ind.) 11. My brother never beat at tennis. (Present Perf.) 12. I punish for something I didn't do. (Past Ind.)

5. Transform the sentences using the Passive Voice.

1. The machine wraps the bread automatically. 2. They didn't damage the machinery. 3. We had sent the newspapers to Scotland by train. 4. They have cancelled the meeting. 5. We'll have cleaned the garages by 5 o'clock tomorrow. 6. The company will export this computer to seventy different countries. 7. The police are questioning Mr and Mrs Davidson 8. We don't allow smoking in this restaurant. 9. Someone's in­terviewing Dr Johnson at the moment. 10. I have told the chil­dren about the party. 11. We expect students not to talk during the examination. 12. You mustn't touch this button while the experiment is in progress. 13. You should keep the flowers in a warm sunny place. 14. You must clean this machine every time you use it. 15. They had to pay the bill before they left the hotel.

6. Paraphrase the following sentences. Give two variants if possible.


They offered me a job at the hospital.

I was offered a job at the hospital.

A job was offered to me.

1.The Queen presented him with a medal. 2. Mr Smith teaches us English at the courses. 3. He told the children fairy­tales. 4. The doctor prescribed me a lot of medicine. 5. They will show us the Crown jewels. 6. We'll send the invitation to Dick. 7. They left the children only a few sweets. 8. They have given him the chance. 9. My sister adviced me to visit this ex­hibition. 10. The teacher explained the pupils a new grammar rule. 11. They paid me a lot of money to do the job. 12. The people have given the minister a hearty welcome. 13.1 lent Bill 5 dollars yesterday. 14. Someone must tell him the truth. 15. We should give all children the best possible education.

7. Use a passive infinitive to say what must (can, may, should, has to ...) be done.

Model. We have to clean the pools every two days. The pools have to be cleaned every two days.

1. We have to feed pups four times a day.

2. We may keep an injured seal here for several months.

3. People must keep dogs on lead in the park.

4. You can obtain further information about the post by telephoning 2637645.

5. People should send their complaints to the head office.

6. They had to postpone the meeting because of illness.

7. We can change the speech if you don't like it.

8. I have to return these books to the library.

9. Our neighbour ought to paint the garage.

10. You must mend the light.

11. Applicants should send in application forms for the post to the personnel officer by 15th August.

12. We couldn't use the telephone.

8. Begin these sentences with it, there or a name I a noun +

passive construction.

Model: ... that prices will rise again this month (expect). It is expected that prices will rise again this month. be a fall in house prices, but I haven't noticed it. (suppose)

2.......that thousands of new jobs will be created in the computer industry, (hope) be thousands of people waiting for their pass­ports, (say) be honest and reliable. (know) be a lot of coal in the Antarctic. (believe)

6.......that the sea level is rising. (think) have committed the crime. (consider) be an expert in financial matters. (suppose)

9.......that all the passengers had died in the crash. (fear)

9. Rewrite each sentence with an active verb and mention the

names of people.

Model: The casino has been closed.

The authorities have closed the casino.

1. The flat was broken into last week.

2. English is spoken all over the world.

3. The new swimming-pool has been opened.

4. This purse was left in the classroom yesterday.

5. Traffic has been banned from the city centre.

6. A new government has been elected.

7. The match has been postponed.

8. A new bridge is being built across the river.

9. Nothing will be decided before next Saturday.

10. All the food at the party was eaten.

10. Choose the most appropriate word underlined.

1. The emergency exit was concealed by /from a red cur­tain.

2. The price of excursions is included in / with the cost of the holiday.

3. All through January, the fields were covered by /from snow.

4. The room was crammed by / with furniture of all de­scriptions.

5. Two of the climbers were injured by / with falling rocks.

6. The island is inhabited by /from people of mainly Chi­nese origin.

7. The bank was quickly surrounded from / with armed po­lice.

8. The window had been smashed from / with a hammer taken from the tool-shed.

9. The stadium was packed from / with cheering fans.

11. Answer the questions, using a passive form of the verbs in brackets, together with a suitable adverbial particle (off, on, in, out, up, down, etc).

Model: What generally happens to houses that are unfit to live in? (pull)

They are generally pulled down.

1. What must be done with a bad tooth? (pull)

2. What has to be done with dirty crockery and cutlery at the end of a meal? (wash)

3. What should happen if mistakes appear in a student's work? (point)

4. What might happen if you crossed a busy road without looking? (knock)

5. What would happen to a lighted candle if there were a sud­den gust of wind? (blow)

6. What may happen to a man who has committed his first offence? (let)

7. What often happens if negotiations look like being unsuccessful? (break)

8. What happens to traffic in a traffic jam? (hold)

12. Supply appropriate prepositions.

1. Though the question had been discussed for a long time no decision was arrived ... . 2. The visit of this delega­tion is widely commented ... in the newspapers. 3. He left for Australia five years ago and he hasn't been heard ... since. 4. I'm sure your idea of spending the week-end in town will be strongly objected ... . 5. Unfortunately our work was con­stantly interfered ... . 6. His presence at the meeting will be insisted .... 7. Don't say foolish things. You'll be laughed .... 8. Mr Brown is such an experienced lecturer. I'm sure he will be listened ... with great attention when he gives his lecture on Modern art. 9.1 felt I was being looked ... and turned around. 10. The children should be looked ... better. They look so grubby. 11. The key has been looked ... since morn­ing but it's nowhere to be found. 12. A shop was broken ... last night. A man was seen leaving it. 13. He was knocked ... by a bus and taken to hospital. 14. The roof was blown ... by a gust of wind. 15. The matter will be dealt... as soon as pos­sible. 16. The old rules have been done away ... . 17. Mr Sak-son has been sent ... and he will soon come. 18. The child likes to be read ... . 19. This newspaper article is often re­ferred ... . 20. He can never be relied .... Whenever he makes a promise he always breaks it. 21. There was a road accident last night. An elderly man was run ... by a car and was badly injured. 22. Where have you been all this time? You have been asked ... more than once. 23. When they realized that the child was running a high temperature the doctor was sent ... immediately. 24. Little Jane was very much upset because she had never been spoken badly ... in the presence of strang­ers before. 25. He was surprised to find a letter in the letter­box. He had never been written ... and that letter came so un­expectedly. 26. Nobody likes to be shouted ....

13. Express in the passive the second of the following pairs of sentences.

Model: He seldom keeps a promise. No one can rely on him. He can't be relied on.

1. The child is very ill. Someone must send for the doctor.

2. This old car is in excellent condition. The owner has looked after it well.

3. The Prime Minister spoke very long. The people listened to him in complete silence.

4. She is going into hospital tomorrow. The doctors and nurses will take good care of her.

5. That little boy is very thin and always dirty. No one brings him up properly.

6. The new servant girl is always breaking things in the kitchen. Someone should speak to her about her carelessness.

7. Shakespeare was born about 400 years ago. People look upon him as the greatest of English poets.

8. The thieves broke into the bank at midnight and stole $20.000. No one call for the police until 8 o'clock the next morning.

14. In the four newspaper articles there are twelve examples of passive verb forms, but they are in the wrong place. Find them and put them in the right place.

Mozart Makes Record

A Mozart manuscript which was arrested for 40 years was knocked out at an auction yesterday. The signed piano works were delayed by an Austrian library for a record £. 880,000.

Drugs Seize at Airport

A 40-year-old businessman from Birmingham was sold last night at Heathrow airport. A substance believed to be cocaine was stopped in his suitcase. He was crowned by customs offi­cials before being taken to Acron Police Station.

Fellows Loses Fight

Former champion Larry Fellows lost his fight in Dallas last night when he was derailed in the eighth round by Joe Wheeler. After the fight Joe was found heavyweight champion of the world. The fight was questioned in the second round when the crowd started to throw >bjects at the referee, who the crowd thought was being unfair to the former champion.

Train Crash at 80 mph

The London-Edinburgh express was lost yesterday morning as it was passing through York station. Four people were brought to hospital but no one was seriously hurt. Trains were taken for the rest of the day.

15. Look at the work timetable for the light-house Motel. Write eight sentences like this.

Model: The bills are usually prepared at 7 o'clock.

Lighthouse Motel Gulf Shores, Alabama 36143

Work Schedule

7.00 prepare the bills

8.00 clean the swimming pool

9.00 serve breakfast

9.30 make the beds

10.00 clean the tables

10.30 clean the coffee shop

11.00 type the lunch menus

11.45 set up tables for lunch

12.00 check reservations


a) Expand the newspaper headlines. Make sentences in the passive using an appropriate tense (has / have been, will be, are being).

b) Choose one of the headlines and write the story using passive tenses where possible.

Model: The footballer has been offered million pounds for the transfer.

1. Footballer offered million for transfer.

2. No children admitted into bars.

3. Children being brainwashed by TV.

4. Planet being destroyed by pollution.

5. Bomb discovered in old lady's garden.

6. No cameras allowed in museum.

7. Animals being used to test beauty products.

8. Picasso paintings exhibited at the national gallery next Monday.

9. Michael Jackson asked to sponsor charity event yesterday.

17. Translate into English.

а) 1.Дома сейчас строят из новых материалов. 2. Туристов встретили на вокзале. 3. Интересная про­блема обсуждается сейчас в клубе. 4. Эта работа будет закончена вовремя. 5. Письмо было уже написано, ко­гда она вошла. 6. Когда мы нашли словарь, статья уже была переведена. 7. Когда был воздвигнут этот памят­ник? 8. Вам задавали дополнительные вопросы на экза­мене? 9. Как только вещи были уложены, послали за такси. 10. Ему ещё ничего об этом не говорили. 11. Это и есть человек, на которого можно положиться. 12. Больного не будут оперировать без согласия родст­венников. 13. За детьми присмотрят. 14. Все удивляют­ся его успехам. 15. Этот эксперимент приведёт к откры­тию. 16. Об этой книге много говорили. 17. За зимой следует весна. 18. Показали ли вам новые достижения? 19. Не входите. Здесь экзаменуют последнего студента. 20. Когда я включил телевизор, концерт уже шёл.

б) 1. Нужно ли этот текст переводить на англий­ский язык? 2. Больному человеку нужно помочь. 3. Эти книги не следует рекомендовать для обсуждения. 4. Ваше мнение нужно услышать всем. 5. Этот экспе­римент можно не повторять. 6. Благодарность можно выразить публично. 7. Это стихотворение нужно вы­учить наизусть. 8. Эти английские книги должны быть прочитаны в оригинале.

18. Supply the correct form of the verb in brackets.

1. There isn't any food left. All of it (eat)! 2.1 couldn't wear my suit last Sunday. It (clean). 3. Wine (produce) in many part of France. 4.1 can't find my car anywhere. I think it (steal). 5. How many languages (speak) in Switzer­land? 6. The Tower of London (build) at the beginning of the eleventh century. 7. We couldn't use the photocopier yesterday morning. It (repair). 8. A compass (use) for show­ing direction. 9. Millions of cars (export) from Japan every month. 10. Last week I (offer) a job at a local bank, but I didn't accept. 11. The World Cup soccer games (televise) all over the world. 12. Language skills (teach) in every school in the country. 13. The accident (see) by several people. 14. The documents (type) by the time you return. 15. A test (give) in the next room right now. 16. The news (announce) tomorrow. 17. That play (write) by Shakespeare. 18. A new idea (suggest) by Shirly. 19. The librarian said that the book (return) to the library some days ago. 20. By this time tomorrow, the announcement (make). 21.1 was very excited, I (interview) by the assistant manager. 22. America (discover) by Christopher Columbus.

19. Put the verbs in the correct form.

1. I've collected all the documents that ... (need) for the house sale. Can you take them to the lawyer's office to ... (sing)?

2. Look, this is a secret. Come into the garden where we ... (not / overhear).

3. If you hadn't been so late for work, you ... (sack).

4. This office is very inefficient. The telephone ... (never / an­swer) promptly, no proper records ... (keep), and, worst of all, no reports ... (written) for weeks.

5.I was so worried about my garden while I was in hospital, but I have very good neighbours. When I got home I could see that the vegetables ... (water) every day and the grass ... (cut) regularly.

6. Can you come to the police station? The man who ... (sus­pect) of stealing your wallet ... (arrest), and ... (question) at the moment. The police hope he ... (identify), either by you or another witness. 7. We had hoped to see several famous paintings, but the gal­lery ... (re-organised) at the time of our visit and most of the really valuable works ... (move) for safe keeping.

20. Read this letter from Maurice, who is on holiday in Britain, to his sister Sally in New Zealand. Put the verbs in a suitable tense, active or passive. Write a letter to your fried. Use forms of passive voice.

Dear Sally,

How are you? We've been having a lovely time. We're be­ing very well looked after by our hosts. We ...... (take) sightseeing and we......(introduce) to some of their friends, who...... (make) us feel very welcome. Last night we...... (show) round a castle, by the owner! Most of the land in this area......(belong) to his family for about five hundred years.

Apparently, the land...... (give) to them after one of his an­cestors ......(kill) while trying to save the king's life. Quite romantic, isn't it?

The castle itself was a little bit disappointing, to be abso­lutely honest. The owner told us that it......(suffer) serious damage a fire about thirty years ago. When it......(restore) they......(add) central heating and things like that. So once you're inside it ...... (not feel) much different to any other large, old house. But the owner is a real character. He told us lots of stories about things that......(happen) to him when he was young. He......(send) abroad to work in a bank, but he hated it, so he ...... (behave) very badly in order to ...... (sack). He kept us laughing for hours. I hope he......(invite) here before we leave.

I'll have lots more to tell you when we get back. Take care.

Yours affectionately,


21. Put the verbs in the correct form and explain why Thomas decided not to stay in Brinmouthfor his holiday.

Dear Vince,

I expect you're surprised I'm not writing from Brinmouth. I went there, but left almost immediately. You remember what a quiet, pretty place it used to be? Well, when I got there, I found it has changed completely.

Some boys (ride) were riding motorbikes along sand. The inn (replace) has been replaced by a new hotel. The station .. .... The a park for tourist buses. An amuse­ment arcade......on the park. games in the arcade. No one......sandcastles a motorway......over the hill. The sea......with industrial waste three years ago. No fish ......since then.

Don't you think it's sad?

See you soon,


22. a) Put the verbs in brackets in the correct passive form. Re­tell the passage, use passive.

b) Speak about your University or Department using pas­sive structures.

A College Tour

"I'm glad you've all come to visit our college. I hope that many of you will enter it next year. First, let's visit some of our classrooms. In this room, students (teach) are being taught French. Here at Greenville College, we believe that all students should (teach) speak a foreign language.

The students in the next room are studying history. History classes are usually very lively, but today the students (give) ... ... an examination.

This room is a science classroom. You can stay for a while and listen. I'm sure many interesting ideas (discuss)......right now.

In a little while, we are going to see the cafeteria where all the school food (prepare).......We believe that young people should (feed)......good food. That's why we've planted the vegetable garden you see next to the cafeteria. The vegetables that our students are eating today (grow) our garden.

The next stop on the tour will be the college hospital. It (build)......last year and is the school's most modern build­ing. Patients at the college hospital (take) of by ex­cellent nurses and doctors who (train) the best universi­ties.

Students from Greenville College are well prepared for life. Many of our former students (hire) fine companies where they (give)......important jobs.

We hope you've enjoyed your tour of Greenville College."

23. Read the text and choose the correct answer.

1. Why will the oil company be fined?

a) It has released 150 tonnes of crude oil into the river.

b) Oil has leaked from one of its pipelines into the river.

c) Oil accidentally spilt from a tanker into the river.

2. How much damage will be done to wildlife?

a) Only a little if the stick is cleaned up in time.

b) Food supplies will be damaged.

c) It is impossible to say at this stage.

3. How are the emergency services cleaning up the beaches now?

a) They are removing any sand which has been covered by oil.

b) They are using detergent to break up the oil.

c) They are waiting for the tide to wash away the oil.

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