Teaching the Passive

This post will deal with the pedagogical aspects of teaching the Passive.

The first thing I do when I start teaching the Passive Form is explain the concept of the Passive.

In an Active sentence, the stress is on the Subject – the performer of the action.

In a Passive sentence, the stress is on the action performed rather than the performer of the action.

To illustrate the concept, we can use the following picture where we can see an active athlete as opposed to a passive athlete.

Click on the following link to get the illustration.


After a short class talk based on the illustration, I suggest bringing a passage that includes many active and passive structures.

For example:

Mr Levy owns a small hotel. This kind of business involves a lot of work and he insists on keeping a rigid schedule.

All the floors are scrubbed on Monday and Wednesday.

All windows and doors are washed on Tuesday.

The accounts are checked every Thursday.

Mr Levy is a very demanding boss. Everything must be done according to his instructions. His workers often complain that he thinks everything can be done at the same time. He also insists on receiving a detailed report on the activities in the hotel every day.


Here is one of those reports:

Twenty three chickens are being cooked in the kitchen.

Ten kilograms of rice are now being washed.

All floors are being swept right now.

The staff has collapsed and a few workers are now being taken to hospital… 😥 

After reading the text, students are carefully guided to analyze the grammatical structures and thus learn the structure of the Passive sentence – the stress being on the verb structure: Be+V3 and the addition of  BEING in Progressive Tenses.

And that's all for today.

For further explanations, please see:

97– 89 – 'דקדוק אנגלי לדוברי עברית, עמ

For practice, please see:

The New Language Guidebook and Workbook, p 160 – 197.

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