课程 1

Learn four things about passives in just 90 seconds

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    练习题 1

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BBC English Class

Passives

As you know, the passive voice is used to shift the focus from the agent (do-er) to the receiver of an action. But did you know that sometimes we can leave the agent out altogether? Find out four situations in which you can do this with Finn in this video, in just 90 seconds.

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Hi, I'm Finn and welcome to another BBC English Class. Now, today we're looking at passives. It's a big subject and we don't have time to cover all of it – but I'm sure you already know that passives are used to switch the focus of the attention from the do-er, or agent, of an action – onto the recipient, or receiver, of an action

But – did you know that sometimes we can also leave the agent out altogether. Let's look at four times can happen – in just 90 seconds!

When can we leave the agent out?

When we don't know who the agent is. It's unknown. For example:

Bronwyn's car has been stolen.

Who has it been stolen by? We don't know.

When it's obvious who the agent is. For example:

The criminal has been arrested.

Who has the criminal been arrested by? The police. But we know that. It's clear that the police arrested the criminal.

Another time we can leave the agent out is when it's not important to know who the agent is. It's unimportant. For example, in this sentence, imagine your car has been fixed – that's the most important thing – and you don't care who did it. You could just say:

My car has been repaired.

We don't care which mechanic fixed it.

Now, finally, number 4. We can also leave the agent out when people in general are the agents. For example:

That road hasn't been used for years.

Here we mean that no people at all have used it in years. But we don't need to say that – we can leave it out – that road hasn't been used for years.

So there we are. We can leave the agent out when it's unknown, it's obvious, it's unimportant or when it's people in general.

So there we are, four reasons to leave the agent out altogether. See you next time.

Summary

You can leave the agent out when it's:

  • unknown
  • obvious
  • unimportant
  • people in general

For more about the passives, take a look at the Grammar Reference, plus here and here.

To do

It's time to test yourself! Can you leave the agent out in these example sentences - the part that says (by ...)? Or is it important to keep it in? You decide.

Lose the agent?

5 Questions

Can you say these sentences without the agent - the part in brackets like this (by ...)? Or do you need to say the part in brackets? You decide!

祝贺你完成了测验!
Excellent! 太棒了! Bad luck! 加分:
x / y

Lose the agent?

5 Questions

Can you say these sentences without the agent - the part in brackets like this (by ...)? Or do you need to say the part in brackets? You decide!

祝贺你完成了测验!
Excellent! 太棒了! Bad luck! 加分:
x / y

End of Session 1

And that's it, well done! Can you remember all four reasons to leave out the agent?

In the next session, we teach you some important vocabulary for understanding the news.

本课语法

  • The passive voice is used to shift the focus from the agent (do-er) to the receiver of an action.

    Four situations in which you can leave the agent out altogether:

    unknown
    Bronwyn's car has been stolen

    obvious
    The criminal has been arrested

    unimportant
    My car has been repaired

    people in general
    That road hasn't been used for years