Passive Nonsense

Students will be able to form passive sentences by the end of the lesson.

First The ALT and OTE  will demonstrate writing out passive voice sentences on blue, red, and yellow colored cards.  (“Sushi is eaten by Japanese people,” or “AKB48 is known all over the world.” etc.)

Blue is the subject + be verb.

Red is the past perfect verb.

Yellow is the remainder of the predicate.

Show the cards as a sentence to the students.

Then separate the colors and put them in three different large envelopes depending on color.  Then pull out one blue, red, and yellow card at random.  The students will see that new sentences are formed. Continuing with the example above, it might be “Sushi is known all over the world,” and AKB48 is eaten by Japanese people.” (It’s best to plan ahead so that when mixed up, the two example sentences will produce a realistic sentence and a nonsense sentence.)

Then pass out a blue, yellow, and red card to each student. Have them write a passive sentence using the cards.  Two rules, A.) the sentence must make sense, and B.) you can’t use the verb killed or died.

After they have written their sentence pass out the attached worksheet.  Line one is their sentence in English, then in Japanese.

After they have written their sentences, collect all the colored cards into three envelopes.  Then it’s time to see what comes out!

for the next three or four sentences, pull cards at random and see what comes out.

In the last five minutes, pass out a blue, red, and yellow card to all students and have them write that as their final sentence on their worksheet.  With time remaining, let students share funny nonsense sentences that they got.


Teaching passive voice is always hard for native speakers. This is a way to try and have fun making the passive voice.

Junior High
colored paper