Lesson 12 – Problems At Work – Passive Voice




IN YOUR LANGUAGE (Top right > Select language > Click on the flags).





  • What took you so long?
  • I was talking to Peter.
  • He works with Sam.
  • He is a little angry.
  • They are letting people go.
  • They are making cutbacks.
  • They have to fire people.
  • Across all departments…
  • When are they going to start?
  • Immediately
  • The firing is being done by…
  • That’s me out of a job.
  • He doesn’t like me.
  • I’m sure.
  • Personal feelings
  • I was told…
  • To photocopy
  • To distribute a newsletter
  • I blamed it on him.
  • Why did you do that?
  • It would have come out of my wages.
  • He gets paid more than me.
  • Forgive and forget…
  • Keep your job…
  • Me too!




– Problems At Work –



Learn English – Lesson 12 – Problems At Work

Jess: Hi, Chris. What took you so long?

Chris: Sorry, I was talking to Peter. He works with Sam.

Sam: Ah yes, how is he?

Chris: He is a little angry. He said that they are letting people go. They have said that they are making cutbacks and they have told Peter that they have to fire people across all departments.

Sam: Oh no! Did he say when they were going to start?

Chris: Immediately. The firing is being done by Mr Stevenson.

Sam: Well, that’s me out of a job. Mr Stevenson doesn’t like me at all.

Chris: I’m sure that he cannot fire you because of personal feelings.

Sam: I was told once to photocopy and distribute a newsletter. I broke the photocopier. I found some of Mr Stevenson’s work in the copy tray so I blamed it on him.

Chris: Why did you do that?

Sam: It would have come out of my wages and Stevenson gets paid a lot more than I do.

Chris: Well, I hope he can forgive and forget and you keep your job.

Sam: Me too!




Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1


Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2


Drag and Drop Quiz 3: 





There are two special forms for verbs called voice:

  1. Active Voice
  2. Passive Voice


The Active Voice is the “normal” voice. This is the voice we use most of the time. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb:

Suject Verb Object
Horses eat hay


The Passive Voice is not so common. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:

Suject Verb Object
Hay is eaten
by horses.


The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the Passive Voice:

  Suject Verb Object
Active Everybody drinks water.
Passive Water is drunk by everybody.


The passive voice is not used as often as the passive voice. The active voice is the “normal” voice. But sometimes we need the passive voice.

The structure of the passive voice is, therefore:


Subject + auxiliary verb (be) + main verb (participle)


The main verb will always be in participle.

When we want to make the active object more important or we do not know the active subject, we use the passive voice.

Giving importance to the active object:

Suject Verb Object
John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth.


When the active subject is unknown:

Suject Verb Object
? stole my wallet.
My wallet has been stolen  ?


Passive Agent


When we want to introduce the subject, we use by. This is called the passive agent:

Suject Verb Object
Active My wallet was stolen by Steven.
Passive Steven stole my wallet.


It is usually recommended that we use the active voice as it makes the writing clearer and less complicated.


Forming the Passive Voice

When you create the passive voice it is necessary to notice that each time has its own form.

Sentence Auxiliary verb to be + V3 (Past participle) Example
Present Simple Am, is, are + forbidden Smoking is forbidden indoors.
Present Progressive Am, is, are + being + shown He is being shown how to operate the machine.
Past Simple Was, were + broken They were broken by children.
Past Progressive Was, were + being + chosen They were being chosen for the team.
Future (will) Will be + written It will be written in English.
Future (going to) Am, is, are + going to be + drunk He is going to be drunk if he continues drinking.
Present Perfect Has, have + been + drawn The plans have been drawn out.
Past Perfect  Had + been + sown The seeds had been sown.
Future Perfect Will + have been + paid The bills will have been paid by Monday.
Modals (can/could) Can, could + be + found The redwood can be found in North California.
Modal (have to) Have to, has to, had to + be + told He had to be told to behave.
Modal (must) Must + be + woken She must be woken up at 6 o’clock.








Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.