A Zebra Crossing


1) A Zebra Crossing
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Passive Voice



A Zebra Crossing

A drunk trying to cross the street was knocked down by a bus.

A policeman helped him to his feet and said,

“There’s a zebra crossing a few yards away from here.”

“Well, I hope he is having better luck than I am,” replied the drunk.



Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– A zebra crossing is a place on a road marked with white stripes/lines where vehicles must stop to allow people to walk across the road.

– To knock down means to make someone or something fall to the ground by hitting them.

– To help someone to his/her feet or to lift up.

– A yard is a unit of measurement equal to approximately 91.4 centimetres.


Passive Voice

The rules of passive formation are simple and straightforward, but we still need to broaden our knowledge by adding up further points.

1. Some verbs have two objects. Either object can be the subject of the passive verb.

Active: The manager offered John a high-paid job.

Passive: John was offered a high-paid job by the manager./A high-paid job was offered to John by the manager.

In general, it is more usual for passive sentences to begin with the person. Other verbs which have two objects include send, give, show, pay, teach, promise, tell.

2. When put into the passive, verbs followed by a preposition are never separated from their particle.

Active: She accused them of murder.
Passive: They were accused of murder.

3. The verbs make, hear, see, help are followed by long infinitive in the passive.

Active: I saw her take the book.
Passive: She was seen to take the book.

4. Let has no passive form so it is replaced by allow, permit, give permission in the passive.

Active: His parents let him go to the party.
Passive: He was allowed to go to the party by his parents.

But when the subject of “let” and the object of the infinitive are the same, we use “let” in the passive followed by a reflexive pronoun and a passive infinitive.

Active: Don’t let her mock you.
Passive: Don’t let yourself by mocked.

5. Verbs such as say, think, believe, consider, know, report, expect, assume, claim, acknowledge have to possible passive forms.

a. It + passive + that-clause.

Active: She is a millionaire.
Passive: It is said she is a millionaire.

b. Subject + passive + to-infinitive.

Active: She is a millionaire.
Passive: She is said to be a millionaire.

6. We know that the subject of the active verb becomes the agent of the passive verb and we use “by” to introduce it.

The radio was invented by Marconi.
Many trees were blown down by the storm.

When we talk about an instrument which is used by the agent, we use “with”.

I was hit by an umbrella.
He was killed with a rifle.

We also use “with” to talk about materials and ingredients.

The cake was made with raisins.
The pictures were taken with a professional camera.


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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.

Your tutor,

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.


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