Sentence with passive phrases like to be believed to (man glaubt), to be considered to (man betrachtet), to be expected (man erwartet), to be known to (man weiss), to be supposed to (soll/sollen), to be said to (man sagt), to be reported to (man berichtet), to be thought to (man denkt/halten für), are often used in written English (esp. newspaper reports). The German man is often rendered by such phrases.


I believe that the Prime Minister has had an argument with several Cabinet members.
turns into:
The Prime Minister is believed to have had an argument...

Now try to turn the following sentences into ones by means of such a passive phrase (above):

1. I have heard reports that the Cabinet is divided over economic policy.
2. I expect MPs will turn down the government's new tax rise.
3. I think support for the chancellor has almost disappeared.
4. Everyone supposes the Foreign Secretary is thinking of retiring from politics.
5. We all know one leading Secretary is in trouble about his income tax.
6. They say the Secretary for the Environment is fed up with his job.
7. MPs consider that the Employment Secretary has failed at his job.

If you want to practise more complex sentences of above kind, try to make sentences consisting of subordinate and main clauses.

1. last month/PM/believe/have had an argument with several Cabinet members, /he/report/ have made peace with them meanwhile
turns into:
Although last month the PM was believed to have had an argument with..., he is now reported to have made peace..

Now it's your turn:
2. some weeks ago/Cabinet/report/be divided over the BSE crisis/, they/ think/be united again now
3. according to earlier reports/MPs/expect/turndown the government's new pay rises/, the majority/consider/ be in favour of them now
4. quite recently/support for the PM/think/have almost disappeared/, much of it/believe/be returning this week
5. last month/the Secretary for Northern Ireland/suppose/be thinking of retiring/, he/say/think differently about it now
6. at the weekend/two leading secretaries/know/be in trouble about their remarks as to the BSE crisis/, they/ suppose/have denied them meanwhile
7. not long ago/the Chancellor of the Exchequer/say/be fed up with his job/, he now/know/ be interested of staying
8. according to earlier reports/the Home Secretary/consider/have failed at his job/, he now/be given even greater powers

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