Passive voice using "se", Transform the sentences and translate, English and Spanish students | SpanishDict Answers
13 Vote

This exercise is aimed at Students of both English and Spanish.

For Students of English: Transform and translate the sentences using the passive voice, do not use the agent, that is "somebody, they etc"

Intermediate and Advanced students of Spanish: Translate the Sentences using the "se passive" in Spanish.

Check this flashcard set on passive voice, especially created on this topic.

Aslo check this set on Passive voice, sentencesgrin

Native English speakers do not transform the sentences to passive in Englishwink

I will post two sets of sentences:

PUT THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES INTO THE PASSIVE VOICE

1) Somebody had slashed the picture with a knife.

2) Can they be pulling down the old theatre?

3) Someone switched on a light.

4) Did they open the door?

5) They use pigs to find truffles.

6) Had somebody cleaned my shoes?

7) Will nobody brush my jacket?

8) They are doing a lot of work.

9) Somebody feeds the tigers at the zoo.

10) Don’t they build these houses?

Jenny has kindly offered to do the corrections for students of English in your own posts and in comments!

Click on "watch this thread" to check your corrections!

  • This is good stuff... I'll have to practice when I get off work this evening. :-D - DJ_Huero Mar 7, 2011 flag

27 Answers

2 Vote

English

1) The picture had been slashed with a knife. smile

2) Can the old theatre be being pulled down? smile

3) A light was switched on. smile

4) Was the door opened? smile

5) Pigs are used to find truffles.

6) Had my shoes been cleaned? smile

7) Won't my jacket be brushed? wink (better: Will my jacket...)

8) A lot of work is being done. smile

9) The tigers are fed at the zoo. smile

10) Aren't these houses built? smile

Castellano

1) Se había acuchillado el cuadro.

2) ¿Se puede estar derribando el teatro viejo?

3) Se encendió una luz.

4) ¿Se abrió la puerta?

5) Se usan los cerdos para encontrar trufas.

6) ¿Se habían limpiado mis zapatos?

7) ¿No se cepillará mi chaqueta?

8) Se están hecho muchos trabajos.

9) Se alimentan los tigres en el zoológico.

10) ¿No se contruyen estas casas?

4 Vote

This may help clarify what is being done in English.

How to change an active sentence into a passive

The cat (subject) chased  the mouse (object) ACTIVE

 The mouse was chased ( by the cat )  PASSIVE

The object of the active sentence is placed at the beginning of the passive sentence.

The passive sentence always contains a To Be verb + the past participle of the verb in the active sentence.

The original subject in the active sentence is not needed but can be included.

Present simple
Active My wife kisses me

Passive I am kissed by my wife

Past simple Active My wife kissed me

Passive I was kissed by my wife

Modal Active Everyone can enjoy this music

Passive This music can be enjoyed by everyone

Present Progressive Active The man is building a house

Passive A house is being built by the man

Past Progressive Active The King was building a castle

Passive A castle was being built by the King

Present perfect Active The woman has made a dress

Passive A dress has been made by the woman

Past perfect Active He had made a mistake

Passive A mistake had been made by him

Modal Perfect Active A bomb might have killed them

Passive They might have been killed by a bomb

Future Simple Active I will pass the exam

Passive The exam will be passed by me

Note: The passive for the Future Progressive and the Perfect Progressive forms are not used much.

The passive allows the writer or speaker to omit the active subject.

This is useful if we do not know who or what did something or we don't want to say who or what did something.

Passive sentences are often used in scientific and academic books

. VERB FORM ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE

Present Continuous is keeping is being kept

• The road is being kept in good repair.

Present Simple keep is kept • The butter is kept in the fridge.

Present Progressive driving is being driven
• The car is being driven by Marco.

Present Perfect have read has been read
• The bible has been read.

Past Simple stole was stolen • The painting was stolen.

Past Perfect had destroyed had been destroyed • The castle had been destroyed.

Past Progressive was driving was being driven • The car was being driven by Marco.

Future Simple will keep will be kept • The money will be kept by the bank.

Present Conditional would keep would be kept • The money would be kept by the bank.

Past Conditional would have kept would have been kept • The money would have been kept by the bank.

Present Infinitive to keep to be kept • The money is to be kept by the bank.

Short update:

Notice how lawyers - politictons and other obfuscators use this form.

3 Vote

A comment re. 10) Don’t they build these houses?

This sentence is misleading and has certainly mislead Laura who interpreted it to mean 'Are they not in the process of building these houses?'. However we don't use the present indicative for this type of construction in English, rather the present continuous.

The sentence can mean one of two things:

1/ Don't they build these houses?

Here you are questioning who it is that builds the houses. This however cannot be the meaning in this exercise as we need to remove the they from the sentence. Realistically this is though the only way in which this sentence would be used.

2/ Don't they build these houses.

Here are you questioning the method via which these houses come into existence. Now, to my knowledge, aside from magic, building is the only way of bringing a house into existence grin and so you might be confused with the logic of this sentence when trying to transform it removing the 'they'.

So, Laura's answer - 'Aren't these houses being built' is actually incorrect. And, whilst Fidalgo's answer - 'Aren't these houses built?' is correct according to the exercise, it would be misinterpreted to mean 'Are these houses not yet finished' as you'd not really question as to whether they were built as opposed to magicked into existence grin

To remove this oddity, you could add to the sentence. For example:

Don't they build these houses out of brick? Don't they build these houses quickly?

Here there are alternatives to brick and quickly.

  • Thanks a lot, afowen! I see what you're saying :) - cogumela Mar 8, 2011 flag
  • It is a negative question so should be "These houses are not built?" (by them) in my opinion. - ian-hill Mar 8, 2011 flag
  • Do you not think that 'Aren't these houses built?' sounds more natural than 'These houses are not built?'? Were you to use the latter then you'd really have to raise the pitch of your voice at the end, like an Aussie :-) to make it obvious that it was... - afowen Mar 8, 2011 flag
  • ... a question. And probably shrug to boot. It doesn't feel a natural way of structuring the sentence to me... - afowen Mar 8, 2011 flag
2 Vote

1- Se había acuchillado el cuadro con un cuchillo

2- ¿Se está demoliendo el teatro viejo?

3- Se encendió la luz.

4- ¿Se abrió la puerta?

5- Se usan los cerdos para encontrar trufas.

6- ¿Se habían limpiado mis zapatos?

7- ¿No se cepillará mi chaqueta?

8- Se está haciendo mucho trabajo.

9- Se alimentan los tigres en el zoológico.

10- ¿No se contruyen estas casas?

  • todos aceptable excepto , wow, excelente Joe, no esperaba menos de ti, en este caso, casi perfecto, mira mis respuestas...pero esto es casi inmejorable - 00494d19 Mar 8, 2011 flag
2 Vote

This has been a really difficult exercise, as it seems. I have actually allowed the two natives' posts as even they were not correct. Or at least not completelywink Please check Dakie's or Nila's post, you will be surprised . I have asked both members please not to edit their posts, as we are all learning here and this is difficult grammar, even for natives. Look at my comments below each of your posts and my comments on each sentence below.

1) Somebody had slashed the picture with a knife.

Se había rajado/ se rajó el cuadro con un cuchillo.

You cannot use acuchillar, that would mean you murdered the picturewinkPhoto is acceptable.

2) Can they be pulling down the old theatre?

¿Puede que estén tirando/derribando/se esté derribando el viejo teatro?

¿Estarán tirando el viejo teatro/se estará derribando el viejo teatro? You need to use subjunctive here, I also included the "normal passive", which in this case would sound perfectly natural. Have you seen the future used this way? That form would probably the most natural way of translating the sentence.

3) Someone switched on a light.

Se encendió una luz./ una luz fue encendida

The fist sentence can actually mean that the light went on by itself, so that would sound weird, passive in Spanish here sounds off, but the form is correct.

4) Did they open the door?

Se abrió la puerta/la puerta fue abierta/abrieron la puerta.

Same as above. In Spanish we would not use passive here, sounds weird, unless the door actually opened by itself

5) They use pigs to find truffles.

Se usan cerdos para encontrar trufas.

Se usa is acceptable here, even though the tendency is to use plural "se usan".

It would sound odd to use "cerdos son usados...".

6) Had somebody cleaned my shoes?

¿Se habían limpiado/se limpiaron los zapatos?

"mis" zapatos is not acceptable in Spanish, normal passive, los zapatos fueron limpiados...sounds off.

7) Will nobody brush my jacket?

¿Nadie limpiará mi chaqueta?

Truly tricky ...here mi is essential, if we say "la" we would think of a third person cleaning his own jacket.

8) They are doing a lot of work.

Se está haciendo/realizando un montón de trabajo.

9) Somebody feeds the tigers at the zoo.

Se alimenta a los tigres en el zoo. /los tigres son alimentados en el zoo.

Mejor: Se les da de comer a los tigres ....

10) Don’t they build these houses?

¿No se construyen estas casas?

  • Super exercise, Heidi, thaks so much! One day this will go in....and stay in!! Oh, also the Flashcards are great. :D - galsally Mar 9, 2011 flag
2 Vote

Excelente trabajo todo el mundo, estoy impresionada.

Very nice job done by the English students who have also had a go at the transalations, truly amazing.

Very difficult ...good jobgrin

I am not a person to pat anybody on the shoulder who I think could have done better. I personally think that is not the way to go. I am a very strict teacher, especially with those I know can do wellwink Some people can't deal with that.

So for those who tried, great jobgrin

1 Vote

Se usan cerdos para buscar trufas.

alt text

1 Vote

Anybody?

  • I would try, but i don't even think that I could do the English part.... - 001a2987 Mar 6, 2011 flag
  • I'm working on it.... - yahvey_hoffm Mar 6, 2011 flag
  • chruhlman...That was exactly what I was thinking. Where is the category for we English natives who can not do the English exercise? - 0074b507 Mar 6, 2011 flag
  • Haha gfreed! I am with you on that! - MLucie Mar 7, 2011 flag
1 Vote

1) The picture had been slashed with a knife. A.) La foto se había acuchillado con cuchillo.

2) Can the old theatre be getting pulled down? A.) ¿Se puede demoler el teatro antiguo?

3) The light was switched on. A.) Se incendió la luz.

4) Was the door opened? A.) ¿Se abrió la puerta?

5) Pigs are used to find truffles. A.) Se usan los cerdos para hallar trufas.

6) Had my shoes been cleaned? A.) ¿Se habían limpiado los zapatos?

7) Won't my jacket be brushed? A.) ¿Ne se cepillará el saco?

8) A lot of work is being done. A.) Se está hecho mucho trabajo.

9) The tigers are fed at the zoo. A.) Se alimentan los tigres en el zoológico.

10) Aren't these houses built? A.) ¿No se construyen estas casas?

PS: those flashcards on the passive voice.. terrific.

  • Native English speakers do not transform the sentences to passive in English - 00494d19 Mar 6, 2011 flag
  • nobody ever reads the rules...::.sigh::: - 00494d19 Mar 6, 2011 flag
  • Oops.. I transformed the sentences into the passive in English... what fun. - yahvey_hoffm Mar 6, 2011 flag
  • jeje, never mind, I deleted that bit, oh, and yes, I only created the passive voice sets today, for my student... - 00494d19 Mar 6, 2011 flag
  • I rolled it back now to show the - 00494d19 Mar 8, 2011 flag
1 Vote

Se alimentan los tigres en el zoológico.

alt text

Se echó al aire el interruptor de luz.

alt text

1 Vote

This is my attempt!

Thanks a lot for the exercise, Heidi smile

1.The picture had been slashed with a knife smile

2.Can the old theatre be being pulled down? smile

3.A light was switched on smile

4.Was the door opened? smile

5.Pigs are used to find truffles

6.Had my shoes been cleaned? smile

7.Won't my jacket be brushed? wink (better: Will my jacket...)

8.A lot of work is being done smile

9.The tigers are fed at the zoo smile

10.Aren't these houses being built?

  • 4 - you need to use opened. Open in the context you have used is an adjective. Aside from that, poifect :-) You reallly don't need to include what you have parenthesised, the sentences are totally stand-alone. If you do, it's 'by them' not 'by they' :-) - afowen Mar 7, 2011 flag
  • Thank you, afowen :) - cogumela Mar 7, 2011 flag
  • Oh, check my new post. Your no. 10 is actually wrong, but understandably so :-) - afowen Mar 7, 2011 flag
  • Well done Cogu, I have left number 5 because we are still debating the correct answer ;). Number 10 is correct English, but as Afowen has pointed out, it has changed the meaning of the original sentence. - --Jen-- Mar 8, 2011 flag
1 Vote

1) El cuadro se había cortado con un cuchillo.

2) ¿Se puede estar demolido el teatro viejo?

3) La luz se encendió.

4) ¿Se abrió la puerta?

5) Se usan los cerdos para encontrar trufas.

6) ¿Se habían limpiado mis zapatos?

7) ¿No se cepillará mi chaqueta?

8) Se están hecho muchos trabajos.

9) Los tigres se alimentan en el zoológico.

10) No se construyen estas casas?

  • Hi, Pesta! Pay attention to number agreement in #2, 6 and 9. In #3 there is a letter wrong in the verb, in #6 a misspelling in the noun :) - cogumela Mar 7, 2011 flag
  • I think in #2 and #8 a continuous tense is required, you need a gerundio there. - cogumela Mar 7, 2011 flag
  • ¡Muchas gracias, cogu! - pesta Mar 7, 2011 flag
  • todos aceptables menos: 2,8,; excelente trabajo! - 00494d19 Mar 8, 2011 flag
1 Vote

1) Somebody had slashed the picture with a knife. The picture had been slashed with a knife. smile

2) Can they be pulling down the old theatre? Can the old theatre be being pulled down?

3) Someone switched on a light. A light was switched on.

4) Did they open the door? Was the door opened? smile

5) They use pigs to find truffles. Pigs are used to find truffles

6) Had somebody cleaned my shoes? Had My shoes been cleaned? smile

7) Will nobody brush my jacket? Will my Jacket be brushed? smile

8) They are doing a lot of work. A lot of work is being done.

9) Somebody feeds the tigers at the zoo. The tigers are fed at the zoo. wink (The tigers...)

10) Don’t they build these houses? Aren't these houses built

1 Vote

1) Se había hecho un tajo en el cuadro con un cuchillo.

2) ¿Se está demoliendo el teatro antiguo?

3) Se incendió una luz.

4) ¿Se abrió la puerta?

5) Se usan cerdos para buscar turfas.

6) ¿Se me habían limpiado los zapatos?

7) ¿No se me cepillará la chequeta?

8) Se hace mucho trabajo.

9) Se les da de comer a los tigres en el zoo.

10) ¿No se construyen estas casas?

  • todos aceptable excepto , wow,como joe, casi inmejorable, sobre todo la frase uno y nueve, perfecto, muy buen trabajo, dean! - 00494d19 Mar 8, 2011 flag
  • excepto cuál #, heidi? gracias.:) - Deanski Mar 8, 2011 flag
  • i'm guessing #8. - Deanski Mar 9, 2011 flag
1 Vote

My attempts:-

Spanish:-

1- El cuadro se había cortado con un cuchillo.

2- ¿Se puede estar demolido el teatro viejo?

3- La luz se encendió.

4- ¿Se abrió la puerta?

5- Se usan los cerdos para encontrar trufas.

6- ¿Se habían limpiado mis zapatos?

7- ¿No se cepillará mi chaqueta?

8- Se están hecho muchos trabajos.

9- Los tigres se alimentan en el zoológico.

10- ¿No se construyen estas casas?

English:-

1- The picture had been slashed with a knife. smile

2- Can the old theatre be being pulled down? smile

3- A light was switched on. smile

4- Was the door opened? smile

5- Pigs are used to find truffles.

6- Had my shoes been cleaned? smile

7- Won't my jacket be brushed? wink (better: Will my jacket...)

8- A lot of work is being done. smile

9- The tigers are fed at the zoo. smile

10- Aren't these houses built? smile

Thanks a lot for the exercise, Heidi smile

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