Improve your Academic Writing: PASSIVE PREPOSITIONAL VERBS (also great for IELTS & TOEFL!)


Hey, everyone.

I'm Alex.

Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this academic writing lesson.

So, today I will be giving you some very practical skills, practical tools, practical expressions,

words, phrases that you can use in your academic writing.

So, this might prove useful if you're a high school student, a university student, college

student, if you are someone who is writing an IELTS exam or a TOEFL exam, or any type

of academic work.

So, I'm going to tell you the name...

Technical name of these tools that I'm going to give you today in a bit.

First, I just want to start teaching you guys, and after the first six, I'll let you know

on a little secret.


"Let you in on the little secret", that's the phrase.

So, first we have: "be aimed at".

Let's just stay with me.

Let's read the example, and you'll start noticing a pattern.

So: "The advertisement was aimed at males between the ages of 18 to 34."

So, here you're saying the advertisement-the ad, the promotion-was targeted at...

Aimed at males between 18 to 34.

So, if you aim an advertisement, this means you try to put your focus of the advertisement

on a specific group of people, a specific demographic.

So, you have, you know, males between the ages of 18 to 34, so this is probably a beer

commercial or a video game commercial maybe.

Next, we have the expression: "to be associated with something or someone".

So, if you are associated with something or someone, this means you have a connection

to something or someone.

So, for example: "Drinking milk is often associated with strong bones."

So this is, you know, what research says or what advertisers want us to believe.

This could be an argument that you're making in a paper.

So: "Drinking milk is often associated with strong bones" or with having strong bones;

has a connection with it.

Next: "to be based on something".

Now, this is when you're using, you know, some sort of facts to establish a theory.

So, "to be based on".

"The study was based on 10 years of close observation."

So, this means that the study, the origin of the study, the facts from 10 years, you

know, that's what we used to base this study on; to do this study.

The next phrase I want you to remember is: "to be regarded as" or "to be seen as something

or someone".

So, example: "Albert Einstein is regarded as the premier theoretical physicist of the

20th century."

So, this means people see Einstein as, you know, the premier physicist...

Theoretical physicist of the 20th century.

They regard him...

They hold him in a high position in their minds.

So, people say this.

You can use this phrase to talk about not just people, but events.


Like, the Olympics, World Cup, World War II.

You know, what was it regarded as?

What were these things seen as by people?

How did people see them?

"Be defined as" - to give a definition.


So: "Darkness is defined as the absence of light."

If you're a high school student, this type of structure is okay to use.

Many teachers say: "Don't tell me Webster's Dictionary defines this as blank."

But, you know, if you're a high school student, you're just learning essays.

It's important to define your terms; to give definitions, so: "Darkness is defined as the

absence of light."

I will be using this definition in my paper.

And, finally, here: "be derived from".

If something is derived from something else, it means it comes from that thing; it originates

from that thing.

So, for example: "Some medicines are derived from herbs."

They are taken from, they come from those herbs.


Now, we've looked at six of these.

What do you see that they all have in common?

Okay, they all have: "be", "be", "be", "be", "be"; they all have a past participle verb:

"be aimed", "be associated", "be based"; and they all have a preposition.

Now, these are known as passive prepositional verbs.


So, now that we've looked at the first six of passive prepositional verbs, we're going

to look at another six.

And after you look at these, I promise you, your writing will be so much better and so

much more clearer, and so much more formal and professional-sounding to your teachers

or whoever you're writing for.

So, let's look at six more.

Okay, so six more.

Now, first we have: "be divided into".

So, something is divided - it is separated.

For example: "Canada is divided into provinces and territories."

Very clear.

Next: "be involved in".

So, you have involvement in something.

For example: "J. Robert Oppenheimer was the primary figure involved in the creation of

the atomic bomb."

Very clear as well, I hope.

"Be known as".

If you are known as something, this is your primary identity or one of your main identities.

For example: "The Wright Brothers are popularly known as the pioneers of human flight."

Those of you who are watching from Brazil - that's just popularly known.


I know about the other guy.

So, "be prejudiced against".

I love you Brazil.

Love you.

"Be prejudiced against": "Humans are often prejudiced against people they do not understand."

So, if you're prejudiced against somebody or some group of people, you have, like, a

natural discriminatory attitude; you discriminate against this group, you hold strong negative

feelings towards them.

So, people are often prejudiced against people they do not understand.

"Be required for".

So, something is required; it is necessary for something.

So: "Regular sleep is required for good health."

You need to sleep regularly; it's a necessity to have good health.

And, finally: "be used in".

So: "Flamethrowers"-which basically big guns that shoot fire-"were first used in World

War I".


So, I have given you guys 12 passive prepositional verbs.

You can use these in your academic essays, you can use this on your TOEFL exam, on your

IELTS exam.

And if you're wondering: "Okay.

This all still seems kind of confusing.

What do you mean, 'passive'?"

Well, we have a lot of videos on engVid where you can study, you know, what the construction

of the passive is.

Very quickly I can tell you the passive always has a form of the verb "to be", there's always

a past participle.

The only difference in these ones is that we're adding a preposition to the passive



And these are all specifically, you know...

Designed specifically formal...

Fixed formal expressions, formal phrases that you can use in your academic writing, or even

academic presentations as well.


Now, I suggest, because it's very important to remember which verbs...

Which past participle goes with which preposition: Watch this video again if you think it's a

little weird for you now; and after you watch it again and you remember everything, check

out the quiz on

And while you're on and if you want to support what we do here financially,

you can donate at the "Support" link, and we appreciate every donation we receive.

And, also, if you want to follow me, you can check me out on Facebook, you can check me

out on Twitter, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

If this is your first video - hey.

How are ya?

Nice to meet you?

Lots of videos up on my channel; most of them I speak better than what I am right now, so

check out those videos.

Thank you.

And til next time, you guys know what I'm going to say, right?

Say it for me.

Until next time...

Yeah, thanks for clicking.

See ya.

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