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Double Passives 1 Bookmark and Share

Grammar - information and contents

This exercise practises verbs which can have two different passive constructions. These verbs can take two objects, direct and indirect, in the active, and can consequently form two passive constructions. Look at the examples below:

A - John gave the book to Mary. -> The book was given to Mary by John.
B - John gave Mary the book. -> Mary was given the book by John.

Generally, type B passives are preferred in informal, everyday speech, while type A passives are more formal. Read the following sentences and rewrite them putting the underlined verb in the passive. Not all the verbs can take the type B passive. If you think the verb can take both passives, then put it in type B. Decide when you can leave out the agent.

1. He made me an offer for the car that I couldn't refuse.

2. The manager explained the office rules to me when I started my new job.

3. The police told the protesters to move back from the embassy building.

4. Janet's very angry because the car salesman sold her a car which broke down within a week.

5. My lecturer suggested to me that I should try harder to pass the exam.

6. When Alfred retired, his company presented him with a gold watch and a cheque for £10,000.

7. Although the bank paid Monica £1000 in error, they allowed her to keep the money.

8. My illness denied me the opportunity to take my exam, so I have to wait until next year.

9. My wife bought me a new suit for my birthday so that we could visit her mother.

10. The people who came to see my house yesterday have offered me £200,000 for it. I've decided to accept.

  © Marc Loewenthal,, 2000-2012