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Grammar 57 - Simple Past Passive
"The snake was not touched by me, as I knew it would not harm me if I did not disturb it." - This is a simple past passive sentence.

Grammar 57 - Simple Past Passive

In this, the fourth of our seven High English quizzes on active voice and passive voice, we take a look at sentences written in passive voice and the simple past tense.

Tenses are important and the sentence in passive voice changes with the tense it is in. When we want to convert a sentence in any tense in active voice into a sentence in passive voice, the general rule is that the past participle (or the third form) of the main verb is used and the tense is indicated by the auxiliary verb.

The general rule for sentences in simple past passive is:

‘Object + was / were + past participle of main verb (third form)’ in an affirmative sentence.
‘Was / were + object + past participle of main verb (third form)’ in the case of a question.

Just as in so many other cases, adding ‘not’ gives a negative form to passive sentences.:

‘The manager reprimanded the subordinate,’ in active voice and past simple tense is transformed into:
‘The subordinate was reprimanded by the manager,’ in passive voice following the rule enumerated above.

‘Did the speaker cover all the points?’ in active voice is transformed into:
‘Were all the points covered by the speaker?’ in passive voice.

‘The Finance Minister didn’t present the Railway Budget’ in active voice is transformed into:
‘The Railway Budget wasn’t presented by the Finance Minister’ in passive voice.

In English, more sentences are in active voice as the subject performing the action is pertinent. In some cases, when emphasis has to be placed on the thing receiving the action, passive voice is more useful. Generally, scientific and academic writing, which need an objective view, use sentences in passive voice.

The quiz that follows takes you through sentences in simple past passive form.

1.
'Did the technician check all the cars?'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
Are all the cars checked by the technician?
Are all the cars being checked by the technician?
Were all the cars being checked by the technician?
Were all the cars checked by the technician?
In question form, the sentence takes the form ‘was / were + object + past participle of main verb (third form)?’ Option 1 is in simple present tense, option 2 is in present continuous tense and option 3 is in past continuous tense
2.
Choose the simple past passive sentence from the following options.
When I was five, I was being teased by my older brother.
When I was five, I had been teased by my older brother.
When I was five, my older brother teased me.
When I was five, I was teased by my older brother.
The general rule for affirmative sentences in simple past passive is ‘object + was / were + past participle of main verb (third form).’ Option 1 is in past continuous tense, option 2 is in past perfect tense and option 3 is in active voice
3.
Choose the simple past passive sentence from the following options.
When we were first married, we were not ridiculed by our respective parents.
When we were first married, we were not being ridiculed by our respective parents.
When we were first married, we had not been ridiculed by our respective parents.
When we were first married, our respective parents did not ridicule us.
The general rule for negative sentences in simple past passive is ‘object + was / were + not + past participle of main verb (third form).’ Option 2 is in past continuous tense, option 3 is in past perfect tense and option 4 is in active voice
4.
'Did they not hand over the rubbish bags to the refuse collector?'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
Were the rubbish bags not being handed over to the refuse collector?
Were the rubbish bags not handed over to the refuse collector?
Are the rubbish bags not handed over to the refuse collector?
Are the rubbish bags not being handed over to the refuse collector?
In negative question form, the sentence takes the form ‘was / were + object + not + past participle of main verb (third form)?’ Option 1 is in past continuous tense, option 3 is in simple present tense and option 4 is in present continuous tense
5.
'When the accident happened, Trupti filed two complaints.'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
When the accident happened, two complaints are being filed by Trupti.
When the accident happened, two complaints were being filed by Trupti.
When the accident happened, two complaints have been filed by Trupti.
When the accident happened, two complaints were filed by Trupti.
The general rule for affirmative sentences in simple past passive is ‘object + was / were + past participle of main verb (third form).’ Option 1 is in present continuous tense, option 2 is in past continuous tense and option 3 is in present perfect tense
6.
'Did you beat the opponent in the boxing match?'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
Was the opponent beaten by you in the boxing match?
Is the opponent beaten by you in the boxing match?
Is the opponent being beaten by you in the boxing match?
Was the opponent being beaten by you in the boxing match?
In question form, the sentence takes the form ‘was / were + object + past participle of main verb (third form)?’ Option 2 is in simple present tense, option 3 is in present continuous tense and option 4 is in past continuous tense
7.
'The President of India conferred the Bharat Ratna Award on leading scientist Prof C N R Rao.'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
Leading scientist, Prof C N R Rao was conferred the Bharat Ratna Award by the President of India.
Leading scientist, Prof C N R Rao was conferring the Bharat Ratna Award by the President of India.
Leading scientist, Prof C N R Rao was confer the Bharat Ratna Award by the President of India.
Leading scientist, Prof C N R Rao is conferred the Bharat Ratna Award by the President of India.
The general rule for affirmative sentences in simple past passive is ‘object + was / were + past participle of main verb (third form).’ Options 2 and 3 do not follow the general rule and option 4 is in present tense
8.
'I did not touch the snake as I knew it would not harm me if I did not disturb it.'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
The snake is not being touched by me, as I know it would not harm me if I do not disturb it.
The snake was not touched by me, as I knew it would not harm me if I did not disturb it.
The snake is not touched by me, as I know it would not harm me if I do not disturb it.
The snake was not being touched by me, as I knew it would not harm me if I did not disturb it.
The general rule for negative sentences in simple past passive is ‘object + was / were not + past participle of main verb (third form).’ Option 1 is in present continuous tense, option 3 is in simple present tense and option 4 is in past continuous tense
9.
'Did he not collect his last month's pay?'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
Is the last month's pay not collected by him?
Is the last month's pay not being collected by him?
Was the last month's pay not collected by him?
Was the last month's pay not being collected by him?
In negative question form, the sentence takes the form ‘was / were + object + not + past participle of main verb (third form)?’ Option 1 is in simple present tense, option 2 is in present continuous tense and option 4 is in past continuous tense
10.
'The police did not arrest them.'
Transform this sentence into a simple past passive sentence. Choose from the following options.
They are not arrested by the police.
They are not being arrested by the police.
They were not arrested by the police.
They were not being arrested by the police.
The general rule for negative sentences in simple past passive is ‘object + was / were not + past participle of main verb (third form).’ Option 1 is in simple present tense, option 2 is in present continuous tense and option 4 is in past continuous tense
Author:  V T Narendra

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