English for Intermediate Students - CEFR B2 - Lesson 2 of 25

Past Passive

Read and listen to four conversations using the grammar.

Conversation 1

Man: When was this subway built?
Woman: It was built about 30 years ago.
Man: It still looks pretty new.
Woman: Yes, it was remodeled last year.
Man: Well, they did a nice job.
Woman: I’ll say.

Conversation 2

Man: What happened to the old stadium?
Woman: It was torn down last year.
Man: Why did they tear it down?
Woman: It was damaged by the hurricane three years ago.
Man: Oh, I remember that.
Woman: Yeah, a lot of damage was done that night.

Conversation 3

Man: Do you still go to that hotel by the lake?
Woman: No, it was sold last year.
Man: Oh, was it replaced?
Woman: No, it was closed and hasn’t been reopened.
Man: Oh, that’s too bad.
Woman: Yeah, summer at the lake hasn’t been the same since.

Conversation 4

Man: Do you still play golf?
Woman: No, the course was shut down last year.
Man: Oh, that was such a beautiful course. What happened to it?
Woman: It was converted to a park.
Man: Well, at least it was put to good use.
Woman: Yeah, my kids love to go there now.

Past Passive

Point 1: The past passive uses the past participle after the be verbs was and were.
  1. The game was canceled.
  2. The meeting was postponed.
  3. The bridge was built this year.
  4. All of those trees were planted over 100 years ago.
Point 2: The past passive is useful because the original subject is not important, known or necessary to understand the sentence.
  1. The game was canceled (by the officials).
  2. The meeting was postponed (by the boss).
  3. The bridge was built five years ago (by construction workers).
  4. All of those trees were planted over 100 years ago (by somebody).
Point 3: The past passive is commonly used in WH-questions.
  • What was said at the meeting?
    • Nothing important.
  • When was this built?
    • It was built last year.
  • How was this dish cooked?
    • It was fried in butter.
  • Who was fired?
    • Bryon was let go.
  • Where was the conference held?
    • It was held at a hotel by the beach.
Point 4: The past passive is commonly used in Yes/No questions.
  • Was the package sent? (Did you send the package?)
    • Yes, it was.
    • No, it wasn't.
  • Were the documents proofread? (Did you proofread the documents?)
    • Yes, they were.
    • No, they weren't.
Point 5: The past passive is commonly used in negative statements. In spoken English, the contraction was not and were not is very common.
  1. The rail station wasn't built until 1995.
  2. The documents weren't proofread by anyone.
  3. The game wasn't played due to the weather.
  4. Those cars weren't produced in America.
Answer these questions about the interview.


More Grammar Conversations for Intermediate Students (2)

Grammar Listening Practice

                        Simple Passive
B2-01 Simple Passive
All the food is cooked with organic ingredients.

                        Past Passive
B2-02 Past Passive
It was built about 30 years ago.

B2-03 Was
                        able to
B2-03 Was able to
I wasn’t able to answer all the questions.

B2-04 Was
                        going to
B2-04 Was going to
I was going to go there.

                        Adverb Placement
B2-05 Adverb Placement
I haven’t technically been there.

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