Sunday, April 3, 2011

English for Agriculture unit 3 UPLAND FARMING grammar

Active Voice / Passive Voice
Look at the following sentences:
  1. Most rice is grown in the lowlands.
  2. Swidden farming is also called ‘shifting cultivation’.
  3. It is found mainly in the uplands.
  4. Most of the nutrients are stored in the living vegetation.
  5. Soon, the nutrients are used up.
  6. The land can be cleared for crops.
Please note that:
  • These sentences are all examples of passive voice constructions.
  • In passive voice, the emphasis is on what is done, not on who or what did it. Whereas, in the active voice, there is more emphasis on who is 'doing' the action.
  • Passive voice is very common in agricultural English, especially in writing.

Active and Passive Voice Constructions

Active Voice
subject   +   verb   +    object
Farmers grow rice
Passive Voice
changes to   +   verb   +   3rd
subject            'to be'       verb

Rice is grown (by farmers)
Using the above illustration, please note that:
  • The '3rd verb' is often called the 'past participle'.
  • In passive voice we often leave out who/what does the action (in this case, farmers) because we are more interested in what was done than who did it.
Active Voice
Passive Voice
Many people eat rice every day.
Rice is eaten by many people every day.
Many people are eating rice now.
Rice is being eaten by many people now.
Many people will eat rice now.
Rice will be eaten by many people tomorrow.
Many people are going to eat rice tomorrow.
Rice is going to be eaten by many people tomorrow.
Many people ate rice yesterday.
Rice was eaten by many people yesterday.
Many people have eaten rice.
Rice has been eaten by many people.
Many people can eat rice.
Rice can be eaten by many people.

Active and Passive Voice with Verb Tenses
Active voice and passive voice can be made in all tenses.  But passive voice is difficult to construct because:
  • The verb 'to be' is different for every tense
'to be'
Present Simple
is /
Rice is grown.
Potatoes are grown.
Present Continuous
is being /
are being
Rice is being grown.
Potatoes are being grown.
Future Simple
will be
Rice will be grown.
Potatoes will be grown.
Future with 'going to'
is going to be /
are going to be
Rice is going to be grown.
Potatoes are going to be grown.
Past Simple
was /
Rice was grown.
Potatoes were grown.
Present Perfect
has been /
have been
Rice has been grown.
Potatoes have been grown.
Auxilliary Construction
may be / can be /
should be / etc.
Rice can be grown.
Potatoes can be grown.
  • The 3rd verb (past participle) is often different to the 2nd verb (past tense).

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