The Passive 3: Details

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Welcome to your Passive 3 : Details lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• The passive with multiple objects
Continuous sentences
“I was born…”
Using “Get”
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The passive with multiple objects

Sometimes a verb can have two objects:

“I gave my teacher the homework.”

My teacher = object 1
The homework = object 2

Because there are two objects, it is possible to make two passive sentences:

“My teacher was given the homework.”

“The homework was given to the teacher.”

Here are some other verbs that can have two objects:

ask / offer / pay / show / teach / tell

When we have a passive sentences with two objects, we usually start with the object that talks about a person, or the pronoun that represents a person:

Active sentence
“Someone paid her €100 to do the translation.”

Passive sentence
She was paid €100 to do the translation.”


Active sentence
“Has someone offered you the position?”

Passive sentence
“Have you been offered the position?”


Active sentence
“Someone showed him how to use the machine.”

Passive sentence
He was shown how to use the machine.”

Continuous tenses

The passive version of “doing / seeing etc.” is “being done / being seen etc.”:

Active sentence
“I like people giving me advice.”

Passive sentence
“I like being given advice.”

“I was born…”

We say “I was born…” not “I am born…“:

“I was born in England.”

“Where were you born?”

Using “Get”

In the passive, you can also use “get” instead of “be”. Have a look at these examples:

“It was a terrible accident, luckily no-one got hurt.”

“We often get invited to picnics.”

“She didn’t get offered the job.”

We only use “get” when an action actually happens. We do not use “get” in these situations:

Calculus is hated by most university students.”
(not “Calculus gets hated …“)

He was a quiet man, little was known about him.”
(not “… little got known ...”)

“Get” is used mostly in spoken English. “Be” can be used in all situations.

“Get” is also used in these expressions. (note that they are not passive):

Get divorced / Get lost / Get angry / Get dressed


  • Passive sentences that have two objects can be written in two ways.
  • We say “I was born.” not “I am born.”
  • “Get” can replace “be” in passive sentences, but not all the time.

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