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How It's Written - Passive Voice
What do you do with the tube once the toothpaste is finished?

How It's Written - Passive Voice

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “How It’s Written” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Passive Voice quiz”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

You will probably have noticed, quite often, problems with English ... how it's spoken, and how it's written, may not always seem to match.

This time, though, we are looking at the present-tense use of the passive voice of verbs. Your own language may be one where you can readily say, 'people make money' or 'someone is frying garlic' (using a word like 'on' in French or 'man' in German) - but where we might more naturally use a passive verb to say 'money is made' or 'garlic is being fried'.

See how you cope with these passive verbs!

Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
In almost every culture of the world, certain parts of the body ... ... inappropriate to display in a public place.
... consider ...
... are considering ...
... are considered ...
... are being considered ...
Here we need a simple general Passive: the public display of these human body parts 'is considered' (by people in general) to be offensive, so the parts themselves 'are regarded' as unsuitable to be revealed.
When discussing such a general or universal principle, we do not need to choose a special form to emphasise the continuity of it. If anything, Answer 4 suggests that the opinion is new, or temporary, or both; which contradicts the way the topic was introduced in the Question.
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
'You can hear the noise as the bins ... ... into the back of the rubbish lorry.'
... tip ...
... tipped ...
... tipping ...
... are tipped ...
The bins do not tip themselves; this is done by someone else, using a machine. We therefore need a passive form to express the action.
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
'What do you do with the tube once the toothpaste ... ... ?'
... has finished?
... is finished?
... finishes?
... are finished?
This is a Passive usage, since the toothpaste is (or has been) used-up by someone.
Answer 4 is wrong because toothpaste is 'uncountable'. (Tubes can be counted, e.g. that two tubes may be needed on a family holiday; but the substance inside cannot.)
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
Many people these days have a suspicious feeling that they ... ... by the Government, and by other big institutions and corporations.
... are being misled ...
... are misled ...
... are misleading ...
... are be misled ...
This a Present progressive / continuous example.
Such people think: 'The Government (etc.) is/are misleading us; we are being misled ... '.
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
When reading in another language, we should check that nothing ... ... in the translation.
... loses ...
... lacks ...
... is lost ...
... is being lost ...
Answer 4 is also possible; the progressive / continuous form suggests that we should keep checking.
Many other languages deal differently from English with the matter of 'losing or lacking': they may say 'a pencil is lacking to me' rather than 'I am lacking a pencil' or 'I haven't got one'.
'There lacks to me a pencil' is made up of understandable English words, but this isn't how we would express the idea.
If you feel this may be a difficulty for you, it would be worth your checking.
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
'Don't turn round, but I believe we ... ... ' said James Band quietly to his fellow-agent.
... are followed ...
... are following ...
... are being followed ...
... are follow ...
The progressive / continuous passive form makes the best sense here, since the 'following' must have already begun before J B can notice it or say anything, and presumably it continues afterwards (probably in a long and exciting 'chase sequence')!
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
'Our product ... ... regularly, and in great quantities, by happy customers all over Europe.'
... is bought ...
... is being bought ...
... is buying ...
... buys ...
'People buy it; it is bought (by them).'
Answer 2 is a more subtle version, emphasising the present-continuous 'here and now' of the ongoing success of the marketing campaign. This is certainly good English and you would not have been 'wrong' to choose it.
Answers 3 and 4 contain no Passive element, and therefore make no sense within the context as offered by the Question.
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
An interesting reaction occurs when ... ... .
... one adds sodium to water.
... we add sodium to water.
... sodium is added to water.
... sodium adds to water.
Answer 3 is the only correct Passive formation on offer here: this is how scientific reports are written (!) in English, as you may know.
Answer 4 is wrong because the sodium is added; it does not 'add itself'! ( ... however much energy it may seem to have in it!)
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
It's no good just asking a conjuror* how his tricks ... ... .
(* 'conjuror' = 'stage magician')
... work.
... do.
... go.
... are done.
Answer 1 makes good sense, but does not contain a Passive form; Answer 2 would be understood but is not really proper English; 'how they go' (Answer 3, also containing no Passive) would mean 'whether they work as intended, and what audiences typically think of them'.
Pick a correct and accurate Passive verb expression.
'Can you remember what that game ... ... , that ... ... with a set of six sticks in pubs in various counties of central England?'
... is called ... / ... people play ...
... is called ... / ... they play ...
... is called ... / ... is played ...
... is called ... / ... are played ...
'The game is called ... and played ...'.
If you are coming to English from one of the other languages that we mentioned earlier, you may have been very tempted by Answers 1 and 2, but these do not have Passives in the second blank.
The game itself is Aunt Sally
Author:  Ian Miles

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