Saturday, April 20

Passive and “Get”

Of course the word “Get” has many uses and meanings. Often it means “obtain.”

image courtesy of stock.xchng 

Sometimes it means “become” or even “buy.”

But today we’re going to focus on a special situation for “Get.” The word “Get” is also used in the Passive.

Are you familiar with the Passive?

Let’s have a quick lesson…


The common pattern in English, which you most likely already know and practice, is the Active sentence.

Its form is “S + V + O.” This means:  

Subject + Verb + Object

For example,

He washes the car.

She hired a new secretary.

They will buy a house.

Very familiar, right?

On the other hand, the Passive form is used when we want to emphasize / focus on the “Receiver” of the action instead of the “Doer” of the action.

Take a look:

He                          washes                                 the car.

(doer)                   (action)                                (receiver) 

When we use the Passive form, the Receiver moves to the beginning of the sentence. Like this:

The car                 is washed                            by him.

(receiver)              (action)                                  (doer) 

There are many situations when we need the Passive form. Even though you’re already familiar with the Active structure:

Doer + Action + Receiver

Subject + Verb + Object

Sometimes it’s wrong to use it and you can only use the Passive. Because it’s more natural or suitable to the situation.

In short, this is the Passive structure:

Receiver + Action + Doer

Subject + be p.p. + (by Noun)

Please keep this form in mind so you can easily make sentences in Passive.

Take a look:

Subject + be p.p. + (by Noun)

The car is washed by him.

A new secretary was hired by her.

A house will be bought by them.

There is one common point of confusion among learners: If you don’t have both (1) Receiver and (2) Doer, then you can’t make a Passive sentence.

*Note: In the following examples, the “Doer” of the sentence will be orange while the “Receiver” will be red.

Active: He goes to the office at 9 a.m. = Ok

Passive: The office is gone to by him at 9 a.m. = X

Active: I study every day. = Ok

Passive: Every day is studied by me. = X

As you can see, both our examples above can’t be changed to Passive simply because they don’t have “Receivers,” only “Doers.”

Unlike this one:

Active: We baked a cake. = Ok

Passive: A cake was baked by us. = Ok

For more practice with the Passive, just click these links:


Please take a look at the Passive form again:

Receiver + Action + Doer

Subject + be p.p. + by Noun

You will notice that it has the “Be” Verb inside it:

Subject + be p.p. + by Noun

You can use “Get” instead of the “Be” Verb.


They are scolded by their mother.

He was hit by a car.

We will be fired by the boss.

Just substitute “Get”…

They get scolded by their mother.

He got hit by a car.

We will get fired by the boss.

Easy, right?

I have to warn you though that when you use “Get” in the Passive form, your sentence will become informal or casual.

Lastly, let’s compare 2 Passive sentences:

She was hurt in the accident.

She is known for making good speeches.

You can use “Get” in the 1st but you can’t use it in the 2nd.

She got hurt in the accident. = Ok

She gets known for making good speeches. = X


Because the first sentence is about an event or happening, so it’s Ok to change the “Be” Veb to “Get.” On the other hand, the second sentence is about a condition or state, so we can’t use “Get.”

Here are other examples:

She is liked by everybody in the office. = Ok

She gets liked by everybody in the office. = X


She is asked out by many guys. = Ok

She gets asked out by many guys. = Ok


You will see “Get” together with the p.p. (past participle) in  other expressions.

For example:

Get dressed (= put on clothes)

Get changed (= change clothes)

Get lost (= not know the way)

Get married

Get engaged

Get divorced

Even though they look like the Passive (be + p.p.), they’re not. The phrases above are just idiomatic expressions and it’ll be good for you to think of them as such. It will be very confusing if you mix them up as Passive.

Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !

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