First, let’s have a look at (and watch) some of places and events I talked about on the podcast.
Click on the links and see what I was talking about.
Gloucester Cathedral / King Edwards II’s shrine / Gloucester Rugby /
Kingsholm (Gloucester Rugby Stadium) / Cheese-rolling / The River Severn /Surfing the Severn Bore
Now, let’s have a look at the grammar.
The Passive Voice
The passive is formed with ‘be’ + past participle. Here are five sentences from this week’s podcast which contain the passive voice.
- Gloucester was founded in the year 97 by the Romans. (Past simple passive)
- (The cathedral) was built almost a thousand years ago.(Past simple passive)
- Games are usually played on Saturday afternoons. (Present simple passive)
- The cheese is thrown from the top of the hill . . . (Present simple passive)
- The wave is surfed by people from all over the world. (Present simple passive)
In sentences 1 and 5 we include the agent(s) of the verb (the person/people doing the actions). Here the preposition ‘by’ introduces the agent.
We use the passive voice for a number of reasons.
- To emphasise the person or object the action is happening to (as in example sentences 1 and 5).
- When the agent of the verb (the people doing the action) is unknown (as in example sentences 2 and 4)
- When the agent of the verb (the people doing the action) is obvious (as in example sentence 3 – it is obvious that games are played by Gloucester rugby club)
For more information about the passive click here. For online exercises practising the passive click here. To watch a video about the passive click here.
Takahiro from Japan wrote in to ask whether it is correct to use try + infinitive or try + verb-ing. In the podcast, I said both are correct but the meaning will be different.
Try + infinitive
When a person tries to do something, they make an effort to do it. They may succeed or they may fail. However, it is more often used to talk about a failed effort.
I tried to call you, but you didn’t answer your phone.
I tried to warn him, but he just didn’t listen.
Try + verb-ing
When a person tries doing something, they do it with the goal of finding out what will happen when they do it.
The computer stopped working, so I tried turning it off and on again. It worked!
I tried playing golf once. I was terrible! Never again.
That brings me to the end of this blog post. I hope you found it useful.
All the best,