Hi,

An exercise on passive voice asks students to rewrite the following sentence in the passive voice:

''After the tragic fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel in 1999,everyone agreed that when they build tunnels in the future they should pay much more attention to safelty.''

The Answer Key privides the following answer:

''After the tragic fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel in 1999,everyone agreed that when tunnels were built in the future more attention should be paid to safety.''

My question is this:

Why is it ''...were built...'' and not ''...are built...'', since the tense is simple present?Does the passive change the tense of the original present verb?

I think the verb in the original sentence should have been built ,after the verb agreed!

thanks.

P.S. Sorry for repeating my post ,but I couldn't get what Mister Micawber tried to convey to me and I didn't get a response to my reply,asking for clarification.
Anonymouswhen they build tunnels
The passive is "when tunnels are built". The answer key is wrong. Rewriting a sentence in passive voice should not result in a change of tense.

AnonymousI think the verb in the original sentence should have been built ,after the verb agreed
That's another way to keep the answer key consistent with the question, but "built tunnels in the future" doesn't sound quite right!

CJ
Hi,CJ,

Thanks for the explanation.I have another problem now.Why is the verb''...build..''in the present tense in the first place even though ''...agreed..''is in the past.Isn't it reported speech?Is should be paid past form in reported speech as I understand from Mister Micawber's answer?

The following is the original answer of Mister Micawber,which makes things more difficult to me:

"'But the verb in the main clause is past: 'agreed'. This is a form of reported or indirect speech, where the subordinate verb ('were built') has been regressed with the main verb. Back in 1999, they said, 'We agree that when tunnels are built...'

(Also, someone failed to change the main verb into passive voice!

After the tragic fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel in 1999, it was agreed that when tunnels were built in the future more attention should be paid to safety.' )

Thanks.
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AnonymousWhy is the verb''...build..''in the present tense in the first place even though ''...agreed..''is in the past.Isn't it reported speech?
To my ear the sentence is fine as written - with 'build tunnels in the future'. My brain just easily accepted the shift in viewpoint. The idea of reported speech did not occur to me when I read the sentence, though I suppose that is another way to look at it. There are often multiple ways of analyzing these things.

If you trouble understanding Mr. Micawber's explanation, you'll have to take it up with him.

CJ
CalifJim
AnonymousWhy is the verb...build..in the present tense in the first place even though ...agreed..is in the past.Isn't it reported speech?
To my ear the sentence is fine as written - with 'build tunnels in the future'. My brain just easily accepted the shift in viewpoint. The idea of reported speech did not occur to me when I read the sentence, though I suppose that is another way to look at it. There are often multiple ways of analyzing these things. If you trouble understanding Mr. Micawber's explanation, you'll have to take it up with him. CJ
Hi,CJ,

All I am trying to do is understand,and what I meant was that I couldn't get the link between the passive_which was required by the task_and indirect speech.

How do you sum up the discussion,please?I need to get a clear answer.Is the Answer Key incorrect?

I respect all of you indiscriminately.

Lots of thanks.
This is one of your original questions:
AnonymousAn exercise on passive voice asks students to rewrite the following sentence in the passive voice:
''After the tragic fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel in 1999,everyone agreed that when they build tunnels in the future they should pay much more attention to safelty.''

The Answer Key privides the following answer:

''After the tragic fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel in 1999,everyone agreed that when tunnels were built in the future more attention should be paid to safety.''

My question is this:

Why is it ''...were built...'' and not ''...are built...'', since the tense is simple present?Does the passive change the tense of the original present verb?
Here is my answer, which you can read above:
CalifJimThe answer key is wrong.
See Passive voice ,again

Here is your follow-up question:
AnonymousI need to get a clear answer. Is the Answer Key incorrect?
What about my answer above is not clear? Do you not understand that "wrong" means "incorrect"?

CJ
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AnonymousI couldn't get the link between the passive_which was required by the task_and indirect speech.
There is no link that I can see either.

But this remark in your original question (quoted below) has no connection to passive voice either, so it seems like a second question unrelated to the passive. It was probably this remark that made readers of your post believe that you wanted some explanation of the tense sequence "agreed" - "build" as a second question unrelated to the passive voice.

AnonymousI think the verb in the original sentence should have been built ,after the verb agreed!
I recommend that you just ask one question at a time, especially in longer posts.

CJ
thanks for tolerating me.