English Grammar Exercises for B2 – Use of the passive

1. Rewrite the text. Use passive structures to make the underlined words the main focus of the sentences.

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004 when he was a student at Harvard University. He originally intended it to be a game in which people could compare photos of students and rate them according to who was the most attractive. The college banned the project within days, but it later became the basis for the social-networking site we know today. At first, it granted membership only to students, but later allowed all people over the age of thirteen to join. Today, over one billion people actively use Facebook . In 2011, Forbes Magazine declared Zuckerberg to be the ninth most powerful person in the world.

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Show answers

Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 when he was a student at Harvard University. It was originally intended to be a game in which photos of students could be compared and rated according to who was the most attractive. The project was banned by the college within days, but it later became the basis for the social-networking site we know today. At first, membership was granted only to students, but later all people over the age of thirteen were allowed to join. Today, Facebook is actively used by over one billion people. In 2011, Zuckerberg was declared by Forbes Magazine to be the ninth most powerful person in the world.

2. Rewrite these active sentences as passive sentences, avoiding the words somebody, nobody, they and people.

1   People have polluted the lakes in our region.

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2   They’ve sold the house next door.

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3   Somebody will tell you when to start the exam.

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4   The should have picked up the kids before four o’clock.

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5   Nobody informed me about the change of venue.

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6   I hope nobody will blame me for the accident.

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7   They will install Wi-fi in the school once they have agreed on a price.

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8   They wouldn’t have cancelled the concert if they’d sold more tickets.

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Show answers

The lakes in our region have been polluted.

The house next door has been sold.

You will be told when to start the exam.

The kids should have been picked up before four o’clock.

I was not informed about the change of venue.

I hope I won’t be blamed for the accident.

Wi-fi will be installed in the school once a price has been agreed on.

The concert wouldn’t have been cancelled if more tickets had been sold.

3. Rewrite the sentences using the passive. Make the indirect object the subject.

They gave the teacher a present at the end of the year.

      The teacher was given a present at the end of the year.

Nobody has taught him good manners.

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boss is promising me a big pay rise.

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They gave me ten minutes to make up mind.

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They won’t offer the job to Martin.

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They awarded prizes to the cleverest students.

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The bank owes Harry £100.

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Somebody threw the boy a lifebelt.

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Show answers

He hasn’t been taught good manners.

I’m being promised a big pay rise by boss.

I was given ten minutes to make up mind.

Martin won’t be offered the job.

The cleverest students were awarded prizes.

Harry is owed £100 by the bank.

The boy was thrown a lifebelt.

Challenge!

Find out four interesting facts about the invention of YouTube. Express them using passive structures.

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