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13. Special passive structures


1 I was given ...

Look at these sentences.
Henry gave some flowers to Ciaire.
gave Claire some flowers.
An active sentence with a verb like give can have two different structures.

If we use a passive sentence, either some flowers or Ciaire can be the subject.

Some flowers were given to Claire.
This is about the flowers, and it tells us who received them.

Claire was given some flowers.
This is about Claire, and it tells us what she received.

It is quite normal in English for a person to be the subject in a passive sentence like the one about Claire.
Mike was sent tickets for the concert.
My wife is paid more than I am.
Andrew has been awarded a prize for his essay.

We can use the following verbs in this structure: allow, award, fed, give, grant, hand, leave (in a will), lend, offer, owe, pay, promise, sell, send, show, teach

2 It is said that...

It is said that Henry is in love with Claire.

(= People say that Henry is in love with Claire.)
We can use the structure it + passive verb + clause
with verbs of reporting. We use this structure when
we cannot say or do not need to say who the
speaker is, for example in news reports.

It is thought that the company is planning a new advertising campaign.
It was reported that the President had suffered a heart attack.
It has been agreed that changes to the scheme are necessary.

Here are some verbs we can use in this structure: agree, allege, announce, assure, believe, consider, decide, expect, explain, hope, know, report, say, suggest, suppose, think, understand

3 He is said to ...

We can also use a subject + passive verb + to-infinitive.
Henry is said to be in love with Claire.
This structure is also used in news reports.
United were expected to win. (= People expected that they would win.)
The company is thought to be planning a new advertising campaign.
(= Someone thinks that it is planning a new advertising campaign.)
The President was reported to have suffered a heart attack.
(= Someone reported that he had suffered a heart attack.)

We can use the following verbs in this structure: believe, expect, find, know, report, say, think, understand

We often use be supposed to for things that people say.
I might watch this programme. It's supposed to be very funny.

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