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What's Been Said? - Passive Variants

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 “What’s Been Said?” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Passive Variants 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.

Do you sometimes have difficulty understanding what's been said? It can be slightly harder when the information is a passive variant. But you will be more familiar with such ways of speaking once you have tackled this quiz on passive variants!

  1. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    'During the coming decade, we can confidently predict that great progress ... ... in the fight against diseases which still kill people today.'
    This must be both future and passive: the progress is currently waiting 'to be made'.
  2. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    'The Treasurer reported that the spare bank account ... ... .'
    This is the correct form for a past situation within indirect ('reported') speech:
    The Treasurer said 'We will close the spare account'.
    He said that he (or someone) would close it.
    He said it would be closed (by someone, by a certain deadline ~ probably in the nearish future, from after he told us so).
    Answers 2 and 3 are each possible and sensible, but probably less likely.
  3. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    He was told that a number of other very strong candidates ... ... for the job vacancy.
    The 'considering' had, probably, at least begun by the time 'he was told' about it, and may very well have finished by 'now', so any form of present tense (as in Answer 1) is unlikely to be appropriate here.
    in Answer 3 the selection was still happening while he was told; in No.4, it must have already finished by then ('had'), in other words his own application was probably not successful because someone else had ~ by then ~ been found who had proved better than him for the job. (Often the way with job interviews; such is life, and such are the basics of selective mathematics!)
  4. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    British placenames that end in '-cester' (and similar) usually denote a settlement that ... ... .
    Any one such place (as in the Question) will be singular, so Answer 3 was wrong (though you may have been tempted into it by there being several such towns, and a lot of Romans!).
    Answer 1 contains no Passive; Answer 2 does contain one, but it is misused and does not make proper sense.
  5. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    'If no such progress is achieved, a large number of people and their families ... ... .'
    This is also future and passive; we could have said '... they will be disappointed', but somehow that sounds too negative (in terms of its overall sense, rather than the grammar).
    Beware of the difference between 'disappoint-ING' (which is an inherent quality of bad news, i.e. its potential effect on the hearer/s), and 'disappoint-ED' (which is the participal adjective describing the state of people after they have suffered disappointment).
  6. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    'By the time we come back here next summer, this lovely island ... ... to the mainland by a 4-lane highway bridge.'
    Answer 3 is also possible (using the Future Perfect form ~ to emphasise that by then, the link 'will-have' been made in the past); but Answer 2 is good because it suggests that the link is then permanent.
    Answer 1 contained no passive form; Answer 4 suggests that the island itself will have achieved the link, rather than that the bridge will have been completed (passively) by a large gang of engineers.
  7. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    'Nonetheless, the selection panel declares itself (to have been) ... ... with your interview and evident abilities and achievements.'
    Person A ~ in this case, the head of the selection panel ~ is, passively, 'impressed by (or with)' Person B, when Person B impresses them (actively).
    No doubt, this is what the applicant in Question 3 was told once the process was over and 'they wrote to him' (or should we say, 'a letter was written to him'?) thanking him for having come to interview.
  8. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    A great deal of rubbish ... ... about the topic of waste disposal.
    Answers 2 and 4 are each possible ~ but, without any other context, No.3 is probably the most sensible independent answer.
  9. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    'They are already preparing a big celebration at the Works because, by next autumn, Norris cars ... ... there for 75 years.'
    It's good if you can recognise such a formation as this, but you will only quite rarely need (or wish) to try using one yourself.
    This tense is the future perfect continuous passive! (For looking back from beyond an event that hasn't yet happened, as part of a continuous ongoing process.)
    It is saying that 'by such-and-such a future time, the works will have been making Norris cars' for such-and-such a span of years. The passive form is therefore that 'cars will have been being built'. This is technically correct, both from the engineering and the language points of view, even though there need to be 5 separate verb components to express it clearly and correctly ~ a bit like assembling all those component parts to make an actual car!
  10. Pick the best and most accurate answer using a passive verb form, in a tense ~ other than the present ~ to suit the context.
    Participal Adjectives are a useful set of English words, that describe the property of something once a certain action ... ... .
    The action is 'over and done with' (as we say), so a Perfect verb-form is required.
    Actual examples of such terms might include 'burnt', 'twisted' and 'broken' ... though there are, no doubt, also several positive examples such as 'improved' and 'completed'. You may very well have similar words in your own language that identify the results of everyday processes (e.g. 'papier-machE' in French originally means 'chewed-up paper').

Author: Ian Miles

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