Student Stumper 48: Does the house need painting or need being painted?

QUESTION: I know I can say a house needs painting, but why can’t I say the house needs being painted? ANSWER: It’s not always easy to give a satisfactory answer to grammar questions. Sometimes a standard pattern simply must be followed, no exceptions. You learn the acceptable pattern, and like a dutiful soldier you follow…

How to Get Things Done Right: Passive Constructions with ‘GET’

In my previous post, I shared practice tasks with GET TO + noun combinations as well as GET + a couple infinitives, namely get to know and get to do.  I wanted to help students distinguish between “to” as a preposition and “to” as part of an infinitive. Because the verb get is used so often…

Who’s the Boss? A speaking activity to practice the passive causative

Click here to listen to my introduction to today’s activity on the passive causative. Less than a year ago, I was almost stumped by a question about causative verbs. In Student Stumper 24, I explored what causative verbs are and the patterns they follow. I also offered two communication activities with causative verbs. Students continue to keep…

Getting Married or Divorced? An activity for the passive voice with “get”

There’s often a lot of attention given to the be-passive. Would you like to offer your students some meaningful practice with the get-passive? Consider this activity. Step 1 – Write a list of 12-15 verbs on the board. These verbs should lend themselves to forming passive constructions with get. Suggestions: marry, divorce, catch, stick, hit, arrest, accept,…