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Exercise 2

Grammatical correctness

Are these sentences grammatically correct? Click 'yes' or 'no' to find out.

a. The computer was shut down by Mike's friend. yes no 

Yes. Shut down is used here in the transitive, so it can be made passive.

b. The computer shut down. yes no 

Yes. Shut down is an ergative verb, so it does not have to be passive.

c. The coffee stained the carpet. yes no 

Yes. Even though coffee is inanimate it can be the subject of a sentence in English.

d. I was laughed. yes no 

No. Laugh is intransitive, so it cannot be made passive.

e. Thermometers are used by doctors to measure our temperature. yes no 

Yes. Use is a transitive verb, so it can be made passive.

f. Thermometers measure our temperature. yes no 

Yes. Thermometers measure our temperature, even though they are instruments, not people.

g. This exam is important for students to be passed. yes no 

No. This should be active: It is important for students to pass this exam, or This exam is important for students to pass.

h. These problems may not associated with the failure of the system. yes no 

No. The verb be is missing. The sentence should be: These problems may not be associated with the failure of the system.

i. The facts established beyond all doubt that the event really occurred. yes no 

Yes. Even though facts and event are inanimate, they can still be used as the subjects of the verb.

j. The event was occurred. yes no 

No. Occurred is intransitive, so it cannot be made passive. The sentence should be: The event occurred.

k. The dog was disappeared. yes no 

No. Disappeared is intransitive, so it cannot be made passive. The sentence should be: The dog disappeared.

l. The tree was fallen by the wind. yes no 

No. Fall is intransitive, so it cannot be made passive. The sentence should be: The tree fell. If you want to include the wind as a factor, you can say: The tree fell because of the wind or The wind caused the tree to fall.

m. Richard was given a book. yes no 

Yes. A recipient can appear in the passive in English.

n. The shelf was put the books on by Frank. yes no 

No. English does not usually use the passive for nouns appearing after prepositions. We could say: Frank put the books on the shelf or The books were put on the shelf by Frank.

o. As it is shown in the table that the results vary greatly. yes no 

No. This is a linking as-clause, so it cannot take the words it and that.

p. The car"s speed decreased. yes no 

Yes. Decreased is an ergative verb.

q. We were advised to vary our vocabulary more in the exam. yes no 

Yes. We can use the passive for I, you, he, she, it, we or they in English.

r. The tree was vanished by the rain. yes no 

No. Vanished is an intransitive verb, so it cannot be made passive. We could say: The tree vanished in the rain or The rain hid the tree.

s. The experiment conducted in 2013 was very important. yes no 

Yes. We do not need to say The experiment that was conducted in 2013 because this is a shortened relative clause.

t. As indicated by the chart, the temperature is rising. yes no 

Yes. As indicated by the chart is a linking as-clause.

u. You were warned. yes no 

Yes. We can use the passive for I, you, he, she, it, we or they in English.

v. The shops close at 5 pm. yes no 

Yes. Close is an ergative verb.

w. I've bitten by a spider! yes no 

No. The verb be is missing. It should be: I've been bitten by a spider.

x. We were benefited from the sunshine. yes no 

No. benefit is used intransitively here and so it cannot be passive. The sentence should be active: We benefited from the sunshine.

y. The mixture consisted of flour and water. yes no 

Yes. consist is a stative verb and is normally only used in the active voice.

 

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