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This is a worksheet designed with C1 students in mind. It will help them construct passive sentences with reporting verbs, which are appropriate for many of the formal writing tasks in the CAE exam. Download the worksheet, key and powerpoint below:
We can use passive structures with infinitives in formal writing to report opinions and beliefs.
Present and Future – use an infinitive (to be, to affect)
Many people think Messi is the best player ever.
is thought to be the best player ever.
Scientists know that pollen allergy affects a lot of people.
are known to affect a lot of people.
Journalists expect that the president will give a speech at 2pm.
is expected to give a speech at 2pm.
Past – use a perfect infinitive (to have been, to have made, to have done)
Experts think that Van Gogh painted the painting in 1888.
is thought to have painted the painting in 1888.
The police think he killed his wife.
is thought to have killed his wife.
Verbs used in this way included:
believe, consider, estimate, expect, know, report, say, think, understand and “to be rumoured”.
Change the second sentence using the passive structure.
Experts say that
8 hours sleep is the perfect amount.
8 hours sleep ________________________________________________________________
They expect that 2000 people will attend the festival.
2000 people _________________________________________________________________
Police think that the stolen money is buried in the garden.
The stolen money _____________________________________________________________
There are rumours that Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are dating again.
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez __________________________________________________
Experts estimate that 20 people died in the fire.
Journalists report that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have broken up.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian_________________________________________________.
Scientists believe that the big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago.
The big bang____________________________________________________________.
8 hours sleep is said to be the perfect amount.
2000 people are expected to attend the festival.
The stolen money is thought to be buried in the garden.
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are rumoured to be dating again.
20 people are estimated to have died in the fire.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are reported to have broken up.
The big bang is believed to have happened 13.7 billion years ago.
Creative Practice Exercise
Show the powerpoint with pictures of celebrities, students make up gossip stories about them.
After completing the worksheet have students write two sentences, 1 in the present and 1 in the past, about their partner in the style of a gossip magazine article:
“Jordi is rumoured to be dating Sandra.”
“Jordi is thought to have written Sara a poem.”
Have students read their sentences out to the class, then they vote on which is the juiciest piece of gossip.