1) An Arrogant Lady
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Passive Voice
An Arrogant Lady
An arrogant lady had been shown round a private art gallery in Paris.
Standing at the door of the gallery as she was leaving, the woman looked at a modern painting of a woman by Picasso and said:
“I suppose you call this painting a work of art.”
The owner, who had been annoyed by the woman’s negative attitude to his collection, said:
“No, I call that a mirror.”
Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!
– To show someone around somewhere means to lead someone through a place.
– The meaning of the verb to suppose is to believe, to imagine.
– To annoy means to make someone angry.
Our third lesson in the series focuses on the use of passive voice in preference to the active. I will also give you some tips on verbs which are not used in the passive and the passive with “get”.
Verbs not used in the passive
1. Certain verbs describing states, such as have, be, belong, lack, resemble and seem, cannot be made passive. They cannot be used in the passive even when they describe an action.
2. Verbs followed by to-infinitive usually cannot be made passive.
I refuse to answer your question.
3. Verbs of wanting and liking, e.g. want, love, like, hate + object + infinitive cannot be made passive.
She wanted him to leave.
Passive with “get”
In informal English, “get” can be used as an alternative to “be” in passive forms which describe actions. We often use “get” to describe an unusual or unexpected action.
My flat got burgled when I was on holiday.
How did he get hurt?
When should we use the passive voice in preference to the active?
– when the agent is not know:
He was attacked in plain daylight.
Someone attacked him in plain daylight.
– when it is obvious from the context:
She was being paid more than her colleagues.
Her employer was paying her more than her colleagues.
– when it not important or relevant:
Wars have been fought throughout history.
People have fought wars throughout history.
– when we want to avoid mentioning the agent:
All my toothpaste has been used.
Jim has used all my toothpaste.
– when we describe rules, procedures, processes (in formal English). The focus is on issues rather than on people.
The research was carried out over a period of three months.
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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.
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