Tag Archives: passive form

Irish Coffee

18 Mar


  •  500 ml of hot coffee
  •  25 ml of Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of whipped cream
  • a stemmed glass

According to sources, the original Irish coffee was invented and named by Joe Sheridan, a young Irish chef working at a Irish Coffeerestaurant in Foynes, near Limerick. Foynes was the main airport for Flying Boats between Europe and America and in the 40s it handled many passengers, including many American celebrities. The coffee was created on a winter night in 1942, after a group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am flying boat which was stuck in the port because of miserable weather. So Sheridan decided to prepare something special to warm the passengers up, by adding whisky to coffee. The story goes that when he was asked whether that was Brazilian coffee, Sheridan told them it was “Irish coffee”.


Add the sugar to a pre-heated glass (you can do this just by pouring some hot water into it), then pour some freshly brewed coffee into the glass and stir well. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the whisky and stir again. Now wait for a few seconds for the coffee to settle and carefully pour the whipped cream over the back of a spoon so that it won’t mix with the coffee. The two layers should be kept neatly separated so that it will almost look like a pint of Guinness! If you prefer, you can serve it with a cinnamon stick or a chocolate teaspoon or garnish it with some coffee beans on top.

  The Passive form

La  forma passiva è un costrutto molto utile in inglese per dare maggior enfasi al soggetto della frase, invece che all’agente, cioè chi di fatto compie l’azione. Si costruisce con il verbo to be seguito dal past participle (attenzione alle forme irregolari!!), quindi esattamente come in italiano. Il complemento d’agente, se presente, è introdotto dalla preposizione by:

The original Irish coffee was invented and named by Joe Sheridan. (Mi interessava dare maggiore rilevanza all’irish coffee anzichè al suo “inventore”)

La forma passiva può essere usata solo con i verbi transitivi, cioè con quei verbi che possono essere seguiti da un complemento oggetto. Ad esempio:

The coffe was created on a winter night. (create è un verbo transitivo, cioè nella forma attiva può essere seguito da un complemento oggetto: create + object)

Esistono alcuni casi in cui l’uso della forma passiva è particolarmente consigliato. Ad esempio, quando non conosciamo l’agente, oppure quando questo è poco rilevante o cosituito da un gruppo generico di persone.

When Sheridan was asked whether that was Brazilian coffee, he told them it was “Irish coffee”. (l’agente in questo caso è il gruppo di passeggeri americani, non una persona in particolare.)