Active voice: He expects me to help him.

Passive(book answer): He expects to be helped by me.

Passive(my answer): It is expected by him that i should help him.

passive(my answer): It is expected by him to win the match.(if we change main clause in passive.


Active: It is time to take action.

Passive(book answer: It is time for action to be taken.

Passive(my answer): It is time that action should be taken.

I am confused here. In these sentences there are two clause for exp He expects me [to help him]. what is the subject of second part of sentence. which clause should be converted into passive.

[He decided to sell the car was changed into He decided that the car should be sold in the same book. so i take the clue and change #1 and #2 into passive according to that.]

  • The book answer to question 1 is not grammatical. Are you sure this is actually what your book suggests, help instead of helped? Apart from that, adding should has nothing to do with making the sentence passive, so I would not add it.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 7:37
  • Yes, there is helped. it was my mistake.
    – starun008
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 7:48
  • You ask "Which clause should be converted into passive?" This is a book exercise, created by a fallible human, who made the exercise ambiguous, and complicated things by using "expect" and "help" as the verbs.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 13:20
  • This two similar threads might be helpful ell.stackexchange.com/a/46118/3463 and ell.stackexchange.com/a/46339/3463 Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 15:07
  • Note you have a typo "*excepted" in your first answer. It should be "expected"
    – brendan
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 6:59

1 Answer 1



I think the reason the book gives the answer stated in #1 is the subject of your question: passive construction of infinitive verbs. (I can't be sure because I don't have your book in front of me.) There are two verbs in the original sentence: "expects" and "to help." If the book asks you to convert the infinitive to the passive, then you need to change "to help" to "to be helped (by X)".

Note 1: "It is expected" is the proper way to make the passive form of "expect", but for whatever reason "It is expected by him" is rarely used. If you do use it, sounds better to my American ears to say "It is expected by him to be helped by me." However, the book answer is more natural at least in my northwestern American dialect.

Note 2: "It is expected that" is also very rarely used, and usually only in reference to a future event. If you do use a that-clause in this case you need to drop the "should" because it actually becomes a subjunctive construction: "It is expected by him that I help him." However, this should probably be avoided because this construction is so rarely seen.


"It is time for X" is simply the common idiom when the passive voice is used. Again, if you use that you need to drop the "should" and write "It is time that action be taken." However, it's far more common to see "it is time that" with a subject directly after, such as in "It is time that we take action." This wouldn't answer the book question correctly, though, since it asks for a passive construction.

  • Can you clarify how "It is time for X" relates to second example in the question?
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 11:39
  • @Aaron Brown "It is expected that I should help him" sounds excessively formal but still OK. It is ambiguous exactly who expects you to help him -- but ambiguity is kind of the point of passive voice so it might not matter. "It is expected by him that I should help him" feels redundant and awkward. Of course, this is outside the context of what is expected by the author(s) of JavaLatte's book.
    – Andrew
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 7:50
  • Yes, that is a most comprehensive answer. The book answers are correct.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 17:43

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