If looks could kill (another use of the passive)

“If looks could kill,” is an expression people use to describe when someone has given them an unfriendly, unpleasant or angry look. Six men in this funny video clip would be dead if that were true. Explain, using the passive voice.

Please join us on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/bangkokpostlearning

Note: You can find all of our grammar-related columns here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-together/332883/the-grammar-place

For a lesson specifically on the passive voice, the subject of today's activity, click here:http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-together/335239/passive-voice-in-slow-motion

If looks could kill...

“If looks could kill,” is an expression people use to describe when someone has given them an unfriendly, unpleasant or angry look. "If looks could kill, I’d be dead (after the way that person looked at me)”.

The photo above is a great example and it comes from a episode of the popular television show “Just for laughs”. On the show, ordinary people are tricked by the show’s actors and filmed for a television audience.

There is not a single word is this 1:40m video clip from the show, but it is completely clear what happened. The “victims” were young couples shopping for men’s shirts.

Watch the video clip and try to explain what happened. You can probably do so in a single sentence. Explain what happened from the point of view of the young women victims in this photo.


There are many ways to do this, but most people would probably use the passive voice. I’ll tell you how I would describe what happened after you watch the video.

Discussion


As I said, there are different ways of describing this, but this is what I thought of first. Notice the use of the passive voice.

"The women thought that that their boyfriends/husbands had been kissed by another woman (because they saw a lipstick mark on their necks)."

The passive voice indicates the men didn't do the kissing, the woman did. Don’t worry if the structure is a bit too complex for you to say. We are focused on understanding and the meaning should be very clear.

Related search: passive voice, understanding English verb forms, Just for Laughs

About the author

columnist
Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager