Unit 9

Vocabulary

Grammar

  • The passive
  • verbs followed by gerund or infinitive /a list of verbs followed by gerunds for infinitives

Use of Passive

Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. It is not important or not known, who or what is performing the action.

Example: My bike was stolen.

In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, who did it.

Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:

Example: A mistake was made.

In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone (e.g. You have made a mistake.).

Form of Passive

Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)

Example: A letter was written.

When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:

  • the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence
  • the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)
  • the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)

exercise  passive  one two three four

1- VERBS THAT CAN HAVE INFINITIVE OR GERUND OBJECTS,
with little or no difference in meaning:

Begin    I begin to understand    I begin doing the exercises

start

2-VERBS THAT CAN HAVE GERUND OBJECTS, BUT NOT INFINITIVES:

like I like doing that

all the verbs followed by a preposition   I gave up swimming in the rivers, it was too dangerous.

love /prefer/ hate/ admit/ avoid/ allow/consider/deny/miss/can’t stand/suggest/don’t mind

3- VERBS THAT CAN HAVE INFINITIVE OBJECTS, BUT NOT GERUNDS:

want I want to go

would  like to / decide /hope /expect/ agree/ choose/intend/ refuse/ask/promise/wish/offer

/plan/manage/can’ t afford/persuade/invite/help/advise/

4 VERBS THAT CAN HAVE INFINITIVE OR GERUND OBJECTS,
but with a difference in meaning:

Stop:
Stop + gerund means to finish an action in progress: 

  • I stopped working for them because the wages were so low.
    Stop tickling me!

Stop + to-infinitive means to interrupt an activity in order to do something else, so the infinitive is used to express a purpose:

  • I stopped to have lunch. (= I was working, or travelling, and I interrupted what I was doing in order to eat.)
  • It’s difficult to concentrate on what you are doing if you have to stop to answer the phone every five minutes.
Try:
Try + gerund means to experiment with an action that might be a solution to your problem. 

  • If you have problems sleeping, you could trydoing some yoga before you go to bed, or you could try drinking some warm milk.
  • ‘I can’t get in touch with Carl.’ ‘Have you tried e-mailing him?’

Try + to-infinitive means to make an effort to do something. It may be something very difficult or even impossible:

  • The surgeons tried to save his life but he died on the operating table.
  • We’ll try to phone at 6 o’clock, but it might be hard to find a public telephone.
  • Elephants and mice have to try to live together in harmony.

Forget, regret and remember:
When these verbs are followed by a gerund, the gerund refers to an action that happened earlier: 

  • I remember locking the door (= I remember now, I locked the door earlier)
  • He regretted speaking so rudely. (= he regretted at some time in the past, he had spoken rudely at some earlier time in the past.)

Forget is frequently used with ‘never’ in the simple future form:

  • I’ll never forget meeting the Queen.

When these verbs are followed by a to-infinitive, the infinitive refers to an action happening at the same time, or later:

  • I remembered to lock the door (= I thought about it, then I did it.) Remember to take your passport when you go abroad.
  • Don’t forget to buy some eggs! (= Please think about it and then do it.)
  • We regret to announce the late arrival of the 12.45 from Paddington. (= We feel sorry before we tell you this bad news.)

exercise one two three

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