IELTS Grammar Exercises: The Passive

April 20, 2020 by Andrea Castro Andrea Castro

Welcome back to our IELTS Grammar Exercises series. As you may already know, using a variety of complex grammatical structures accurately will help you to achieve a higher score on your IELTS. This series provides you with an opportunity to practice using these structures so that you feel more confident using them on test day. If you still haven’t read the first post of this series, which focuses on relative clauses, you can find it here. Today, we’ll be looking at the passive voice. When you’re ready, open a Word document (or grab a pen and paper) to complete the exercises, and make sure you go through the tasks in order. Once you’ve finished, you can scroll down to the answer key/model answer section to check your answers.

Task 1

Choose the correct option to complete the sentences.

1. All the music in those albums _______________ by famous artists.

a. was composed and produced

b. were composed and produced

 

2. Someone _______________ my passport and gave it to the security guard.

a. was found

b. had found

 

3. A lot of people _______________ since the start of the outbreak.

a. are fired

b. have been fired

 

4. My classmates and I believe that a lot of time _______________ on reviewing the same vocabulary over and over.

a. is wasted

b. has wasted

 

5. They said the book _______________ by the end of the year.

a. has been published

b. will be published

 

Task 2

Complete the sentences with the passive form of the verbs in brackets. Use contractions where possible.

 

1. I don't have my phone on me at the moment. It _______________ (repair).

2. The article seemed outdated. I’m not sure when _______________ (it/write).

3. I went in for an interview last week, but I _______________ (not contact) yet.

4. To our surprise, his car wasn’t in the parking lot. It _______________ (steal).

5. English _______________ (not teach) at the school I went to as a child.

 

Task 3

Improve the following paragraph by changing sentences into the passive voice where appropriate.

The diagram illustrates the way in which people produce olive oil. Initially, farmers harvest the olives from trees and take them to a washing machine where they rinse the olives in cold water. A conveyor belt then transfers the olives to a grinding machine. During this stage, the grinding machine removes the olive stones so that it can safely ground the olives into a paste.

 

Keep in mind that the passive is more frequently used in writing. In IELTS, it's likely that you will use the passive voice more often in Writing Task 1, especially if you’re asked to describe a diagram. If you feel like you need more practice in this area, look for diagrams online and try to describe them using the passive.

 

Answer Key for Task 1

 

1. a - All the music in those albums was composed and produced by famous artists.

2. b - Someone had found my passport and gave it to the security guard.

3. b - A lot of people have been fired since the start of the outbreak.

4. a - My classmates and I believe that a lot of time is wasted on reviewing the same vocabulary over and over.

5. b - They said the book will be published by the end of the year.

 

Answer Key for Task 2

 

1. I don’t have my phone on me at the moment. It is being/getting repaired.

2. The article seemed outdated. I’m not sure when it was written.

3. I went in for an interview last week, but I haven’t been contacted yet.

4. To our surprise, his car wasn’t in the parking lot. It had been stolen.

5. English wasn’t taught at the school I went to as a child.

 

*Model answer – Exercise 3

 

The diagram illustrates the way in which olive oil is produced. Initially, the olives are harvested from trees by farmers and taken to a washing machine where they are rinsed in cold water. The olives are then transferred to a grinding machine via a conveyor belt. During this stage, the olive stones are removed so that the olives can be safely ground into a paste.

 

*Note this paragraph is a model answer and is intended as a guideline. Other variations of the same paragraph are possible.



Andrea Castro

Andrea is an experienced English teacher who has worked since 2009 in Costa Rica, Dubai and now Canada. When not working for IELTS, she spends her time with her little girl and her two canine siblings.

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