martes, 15 de mayo de 2012

THE PASSIVE VOICE

THE PASSIVE VOICE.


Use of Passive
Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. It is not important or not known, however, who or what is performing the action.
Example: My bike was stolen.
In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it.
Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:
Example: A mistake was made.
In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone (e.g. You have made a mistake.).
Form of Passive
Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)
Example: A letter was written.
When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:
  • the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence
  • the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)
  • the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)
Examples of Passive Level: lower intermediate
Tense
Subject
Verb
Object
Simple Present
Active:
Rita
writes
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
is written
by Rita.
Simple Past
Active:
Rita
wrote
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
was written
by Rita.
Present Perfect
Active:
Rita
has written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
has been written
by Rita.
Future I
Active:
Rita
will write
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
will be written
by Rita.
Hilfsverben
Active:
Rita
can write
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
can be written
by Rita.
Examples of Passive Level: upper intermediateLevel 4
Tense
Subject
Verb
Object
Present Progressive
Active:
Rita
is writing
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
is being written
by Rita.
Past Progressive
Active:
Rita
was writing
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
was being written
by Rita.
Past Perfect
Active:
Rita
had written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
had been written
by Rita.
Future II
Active:
Rita
will have written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
will have been written
by Rita.
Conditional I
Active:
Rita
would write
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
would be written
by Rita.
Conditional II
Active:
Rita
would have written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
would have been written
by Rita.
Passive Sentences with Two Objects Level: intermediate
Rewriting an active sentence with two objects in passive voice means that one of the two objects becomes the subject, the other one remains an object. Which object to transform into a subject depends on what you want to put the focus on.

Subject
Verb
Object 1
Object 2
Active:
Rita
wrote
a letter
to me.
Passive:
A letter
was written
to me
by Rita.
Passive:
I
was written
a letter
by Rita.
.
As you can see in the examples, adding by Rita does not sound very elegant. That’s why it is usually dropped.
Personal and Impersonal Passive
Personal Passive simply means that the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. So every verb that needs an object (transitive verb) can form a personal passive.
Example: They build houses. – Houses are built.
Verbs without an object (intransitive verb) normally cannot form a personal passive sentence (as there is no object that can become the subject of the passive sentence). If you want to use an intransitive verb in passive voice, you need an impersonal construction – therefore this passive is called Impersonal Passive.
Example: he says – it is said
Impersonal Passive is not as common in English as in some other languages (e.g. German, Latin). In English, Impersonal Passive is only possible with verbs of perception (e. g. say, think, know).
Example: They say that women live longer than men. – It is said that women live longer than men.
Although Impersonal Passive is possible here, Personal Passive is more common.
Example: They say that women live longer than men. – Women are said to live longer than men.
The subject of the subordinate clause (women) goes to the beginning of the sentence; the verb of perception is put into passive voice. The rest of the sentence is added using an infinitive construction with 'to' (certain auxiliary verbs and that are dropped).
Sometimes the term Personal Passive is used in English lessons if the indirect object of an active sentence is to become the subject of the passive sentence.

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