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Passive Sentences

OET Writing and Speaking engage a lot of passive sentences but you often use passive voice without knowing why!

  • Why do we need passive sentences in a letter?
  • When do we write in passive voice?
  • How many sentences should be passive in a letter / while speaking?

How to Identify?

Active Passive
The Doctor prescribed painkillers. Painkillers were prescribed.
Ms Shrine consulted Dr Shah. Dr Shah was consulted by Ms Shrine.
He commenced medication. His medication was commenced.
The physiotherapist recommended three week’s exercise. Three week’s exercise was recommended by the physiotherapist.
Will you remove the bandage? Will the bandage be removed?

Why do we need passive sentences in a letter?

Passive Voice is used in almost every kind of formal letters to render a “formal” look.

Active Voice: Casual Dress Style
Passive Voice: Formal Dress Style

When do we write in passive voice?

  • When “by whom something is done” is not important.
  • When “by whom something is done” is already understood.
Active Passive
Three nurses and a doctor admitted Ms Gracy. Ms Gracy was admitted.

How many sentences should be passive in a letter / while speaking?

  • Almost 50% sentences, that’s a good rule to follow!

Get ready to change the following sentences into passive and active.

  1. Her doctor diagnosed her.
  2. She commenced medication on Ibuprofen.
  3. The nurses shifted her to a ward.
  4. She recovered well.
  5. Mr Benjamin has undergone a total hip replacement due to osteoarthritis.
  6. We are managing him for high blood pressure.
  7. I would appreciate your taking over the care of Mr Joe.

Written by Biju John

Love for English begins with understanding its unknown rules. Biju John lives on the internet, teaching OET, IELTS and PTE. More than a million students have thanked him from their heart.

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Reported Sentences