Exercise 4

Fill in the gaps with the verbs in brackets in the correct tense (in active or passive voice).

Wine 1 (produce) for thousands of years. The earliest known evidence of wine 2 (come) from Georgia (Caucasus), where 8000-year-old wine jars 3 (find) in 2008.  Wine  4 (reach) the Balkans by c. 4500 BC and 5 (consume) in ancient Greece, Thrace and Rome. Throughout history, wine 6 (consume) for its intoxicating effects, which are evident at normal serving sizes.

Wine 7  (also/play) an important role in religion for centuries. Red wine 8 (associate) with blood by the ancient Egyptians and 9 (use) by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia. Nowadays, both Judaism and Christianity 10 (incorporate) wine in their religious rituals.

Adapted from Wikipedia.



Active sentences vs passive sentences

When A does B, we have two possible ways of talking about it: active or passive. In active sentences A is the subject (before the verb). In passive sentences B is the subject. Check the following examples:

  • Somebody cleaned the classroom yesterday. (Active)
  • The classroom was cleaned every day. (Passive)

As you can see, the object of an active sentence is the subject of a passive sentence. You can learn how to form the passive in all the different verb tenses here.

When do we use the passive?

The passive is more formal than the active and it is more common in written language. We often use the passive when we don’t know, when it is obvious, or when we don’t want so say who or what is responsible for the action.

  • A bank was robbed yesterday. (We don’t know who robbed the bank.)
  • The robber was arrested last night. (It’s obvious that the police arrested the robber.)
  • I was told that you insulted my brother. (I don’t want to say who told me.)
  • Jurassic Park was filmed by Spielberg in 1993. (I’m talking about Jurassic Park and not about Spielberg.)

The passive voice is very common in the news and in formal writing.

  • Arsenal have been defeated 3-­‐0 and they are now 4th in the table.     
  • The British embassy in Israel has been destroyed by an earthquake. 
  • The Catalan election will be held next September.


Passive voice + by

We can use by to say who or what is responsible for the action.

  • The painting was bought by a very rich American.
  • Penicillin was invented by Alexander Fleming