An Arrogant Lady

November 12, 2007

Contents

1) An Arrogant Lady
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Passive Voice

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TODAY’S JOKE
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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.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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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.

GRAMMAR SPOT
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Passive Voice

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.

instead of

Someone attacked him in plain daylight.

– when it is obvious from the context:

She was being paid more than her colleagues.

instead of

Her employer was paying her more than her colleagues.

– when it not important or relevant:

Wars have been fought throughout history.

instead of

People have fought wars throughout history.

– when we want to avoid mentioning the agent:

All my toothpaste has been used.

instead of

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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This newsletter is sponsored by:

AdsMarket Ezine Advertising Network
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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,
Ana
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Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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A Zebra Crossing

November 4, 2007

Contents

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

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TODAY’S JOKE
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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.

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VOCABULARY BOX
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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.
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GRAMMAR SPOT
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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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This newsletter is sponsored by:

AdsMarket Ezine Advertising Network
_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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It Isn’t Fair!

October 21, 2007

Contents

1) It Isn’t Fair!
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Passive Voice

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TODAY’S JOKE
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It Isn’t Fair!

Two little boys who had been naughty all day long were told by the teacher that they must stay after school and write their names five hundred times.

One of them began to watch the other unhappily.

“Why aren’t you writing, Tommy?” asked the teacher.

Tommy burst into tears.

“It isn’t fair!” he sobbed, “his name is Lee and mine’s Shornsteinfeger!”

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

– Naughty children behave badly or are not obedient.
– To burst into tears means to suddenly begin to cry.
– The meaning of the verb to sob is to cry noisily, taking in deep breaths.
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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Passive Voice

After a well-deserved break, I come back ready for new challenges and I propose you a three part lesson on the passive. Today you will learn about the concept of “voice” in grammar and how the passive voice is formed.

In grammar, “voice” is the form of a verb indicating the relation between the participants in an event (subject, object) and the event itself.

Active: The police officer arrested the burglar.
Passive: The burglar was arrested by the police officer.

When a verb is in the active voice (as in the first sentence), the subject of the sentence (the police officer) is the one that performs the action.

When a verb is in the passive voice (second sentence), the subject of the sentence (the burglar) is acted upon by the verb.

How do we recognize passive constructions?

Passive constructions are easy to identify. Look for a form of “to be” (is, are, am, was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be, will have been, being) followed by a past participle. The past participle of regular verbs ends in “-ed”. Irregular verbs have different past participle forms.

The pattern of the passive voice is very simple:

Subject + be (into the same tense as the active verb) + past participle of the main verb.

This house was built in 1987.
Four hundred people are employed in that factory.
His book was first published in Spain.
When was the telegraph invented?

Now let’s compare these active and passive sentences:

Active: Children cannot open these bottles easily.
Passive: These bottles cannot be opened easily by children.

Active: They have treated him very well.
Passive: He has been treated very well.

To change an active verb to the passive form, you have to follow these three steps:

1. The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb.
2. Change the verb to the passive.
3. The original subject becomes the agent of the passive verb and it is preceded by the preposition “by”. There are cases when the agent can be omitted.

Here is a list of all the verb forms that are normally used in the passive.

Present simple: The office is locked every evening.
Present continuous: The flat is being redecorated.
Present perfect simple: The swimming pool hasn’t been cleaned yet.
Past simple: His car was stolen last night.
Past continuous: The road was being repaired when the tragic accident happened.
Past perfect: I heard that their house had been damaged by the storm.
Future simple: Lunch will be served at the hotel.
Future perfect: The project will have been completed by the end of September.

You can notice from the above examples that perfect continuous passives are very uncommon, this is because of their complicated and inelegant structure.

The palace has been being built for 30 years.

There is a passive infinitive form: be + past participle. We use this form after modal verbs and after some other structures such as “going to”, “have to”, “want to”, “would like to”.

This mystery can’t be solved.
That strange music could be heard from a long distance.
All the workers have to be instructed about the dangers of their job.
I don’t want to be helped.
I would like to be invited to the ball.

The passive perfect infinitive is used when we refer to the past.

The letter might have been sent to the wrong address.
Less money should have been spent for ornaments.
The doctor should have been called at the first signs of the disease.
The concert must have been postponed because of the bad weather.

The passive of “-ing forms” has the following structure: being + past participle.

I don’t like being lied to.
He enjoys being spoiled.
They can’t stand being told what to do.
She remembers being given the book.

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This newsletter is sponsored by:

AdsMarket Ezine Advertising Network
_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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