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teaching passive voice

Hello colleagues, In my summer class with advanced English learners, I want to teach the passive voice since this component of grammar appears often in the texts we are reading in class. I would be grateful if members who have taught passive voice would share their approach. In addition, if any members are aware of useful online resources related to the passive voice, that would be much appreciated. I'm interested in resources for teachers as well as for learners to use on their own. 

Thank you!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP 


Kat Bohr-Buresh's picture

I've had success with comparing active and passive voice and having students look for signal words, such as "by."  For example, compare: "Loggers cut down trees" vs "Trees were cut down (by loggers)." I point out that passive voice sentences often leave out the acting party (signal word "by") so they have to determine the antecedent. Once they can determine whether a sentence is active or passive, it can be good practice to rewrite a story in the other voice.

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hello colleagues, A few years ago, students attending our program told us about a grammar website that they really liked, Learn American English Online. Teacher Paul, the creator of the site, has recorded dozens of short videos of himself teaching specific grammar points. He explains everything clearly and slowly, so even low level students can understand. The site is organized into levels, and the green level, which is more advanced, features only videos for teaching the passive voice as part of the various verb tenses. 

If you have used this site and/or recommended it to learners, let us know what you think. In addition, we'd love to hear more ideas for teaching the passive voice!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP