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Please help me change these samples from active voice to passive voice, if it is...

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loraaa | Student | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted May 13, 2012 at 9:53 PM via web

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Please help me change these samples from active voice to passive voice, if it is possible to construct passive from these.

1-My cat died.
2-A great thing happened yesterday.
3-His tricks will not fool me.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 21, 2012 at 7:48 PM (Answer #1)

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[eNotes Editors may address only two (maybe three) samples in this sort of Question with a list of assignment samples. My instruction uses a couple of your samples plus others, so you should be able to tackle your other samples happily after this.]

You might say there are two sets of rules for forming passive voice. The first set applies to sentences with both Subject and Object. To make passive voice here, the Subject (doer) moves to the Object (recipient) slot and follows the preposition {by}: by the dog, by the mailman, by the FEDEX lady, etc.

The second set applies to sentences with no Object or no known Subject. "My cat died" has no Object: my cat (Subject) died (Verb). "Tag him" has no known Subject, it's "someone" who tagged "him": tag (Verb) him (Object).

In "My cat died," passive is formed without the existence of a filler in the original sentence Object slot. Passive: Dead is my cat. This passive construction is not one that is generally grammatically acceptable but may be grammatically acceptable if you want rhetorical effect. You have changed the Standard SVO order for a rhetorical OVS order (Object Verb Subject).

In "Tag him,", passive is formed without a doer in the Object slot. Passive: He is tagged [by whom? is omitted]. The governing rules for both sets are:

  • (1) the main verb is augmented by a {be} auxiliary verb of any tense {is, was, were, has been, etc}.
  • (2) the main verb is in the regular past participle -ed form (climbed) or its irregular past participle form (sang).
  • (3) the doer in the passive Object slot follows {by}.

Subject + be auxiliary + -ed past participle main verb + by + Object

In "A great thing happened yesterday," {yesterday} is an adverbial of time therefore not part of a passive formation rule. Passive formation is hindered because {happen} is intransitive: it does not take an object. You might construct a passive as follows with subject + be auxiliary {is/was} + -ed past participle: It is/was a great thing that happened (yesterday). The successfulness of this suggested construction is debatable though grammatically acceptable.

Yet you surely cannot construct a correct English passive sentence as: It is happened a great thing (yesterday).  Another thing not debatable is that {is happened, are happened, were happened, was happened, will happened, had been being happened, etc} are all completely unacceptable.

The things to remember about passive voice construction are that the doer becomes the recipient (if there is a known doer) filling the passive Object slot; the recipient becomes the doer filling the Subject slot; the main verb is accompanied by a {be} auxiliary verb of any tense; the Object filler follows {by}.

Active: His tricks will not fool me. Passive: I will not be fooled by his tricks.

  • Known doer:
  • recipient fills Subject, {I} from {me} + {be} auxiliary {will} + main verb -ed participle {fooled} + {by} + doer fills Object {his tricks}.

Active: Someone cut my roses. Passive: My roses are/were cut.

  • Unknown doer:
  • recipient fills Subject, {my roses} + {be} auxiliary {are/were} + main verb irregular past participle {cut} + unknown doer, omitted Object slot [alternatively: {by someone} {by} + "someone" fills Object slot].

Additionally, {for}, indicating purpose, and {with}, indicating thing instead of doer, may replace {by} in passive construction.

  • recipient Subject + be auxiliary + -ed past participle + by/with/for + doer/thing/purpose Object.
  • The roses were cut with the shears (thing).
  • The music was played for the audience (purpose).

Sources:

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:37 PM (Answer #2)

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1-my cat died
2-a great thing happened yesterday
3- His tricks will not fool me

To change directly change to acceptable passive sentences.

  • A was interviewed by B
  • A will not be fooled by B 
  • A were invented by B 
  • A was developed by B

Some may be grammatically possible, e.g.;,"Africa was travelled by Bill last summer" but are not natural sentences which people would say.

The passive is where the subject is not the 'doer' of the verb but rather the receiver of the verb. Compare an active sentence...

The Nazis gassed 6 million Jews for no other reason than illogical prejudice.

with the passive version...

6 million Jews were gassed by the Nazis for no other reason than illogical prejudice.

When constructing passive, you can't just reverse the original position of the subjects and objects and keep the verbs all in the active simple past. So, for example, in: The subject (Death) overcame the object (the cat), is an active situation. Whereas the passive form would be

My cat was overcome by Death.

Generally in English tests, when asked to change from active to passive it is understood that you should not totally reinvent the sentence but must re-write with the original verb in the passive.

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loraaa | Student | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:07 AM (Answer #5)

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Hmmmmm... thanks Mrs. kplhardison,,, o_O

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