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  1. #1
    carelessman is offline Newbie
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    Default active voice vs passive voice problem

    hello, i sometimes have active versus passive voice choice problems. If anyone knows which one is more proper in this sentence please be kind to help me.


    [sentence]
    If we had odd-even driving days, the number of cars on the road would be greatly reduced, and air quality would improve.



    Actually, this is a subjunctive mood question. However, I feel like 'improve' needs to be changed to 'be improved'.

    The reasons are

    1. in the sentence the word 'reduce' are used as passive voice 'would be greatly reduced' so the other sentence connected by 'and' also needs to be passive voice.

    2. I think 'air quality' does not have voluntary volition.


    However, co-working teacher mentioned intransitive usage of the word 'improve'.

    But I still think that 'improve' should be 'be improved'. For 'The odd-even driving days improve air quality. ' looks like the active counterpart.


    Would anyone kindly help me. Am I wrong or right?

    And if I am wrong on what part am I missing.


    And on which part of the book or where am I supposed to look for for the reference.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by carelessman; 09-Sep-2009 at 05:20.

  2. #2
    albeit is offline Banned
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    Default Re: active voice vs passive voice problem

    Quote Originally Posted by carelessman View Post
    hello, i sometimes have active versus passive voice choice problems. If anyone knows which one is more proper in this sentence please be kind enough to help me.
    Lots of students have these problems, Carelessman.

    Quote Originally Posted by carelessman;512989
    [sentence
    If we had odd-even driving days, the number of cars on the road would be greatly reduced, and air quality would improve.

    Actually, this is a subjunctive mood question. However, I feel like 'improve' needs to be changed to 'be improved'.

    The reasons are

    1. in the sentence the word 'reduce' are used as passive voice 'would be greatly reduced' so the other sentence connected by 'and' also needs to be passive voice.

    2. I think 'air quality' does not have voluntary volition.
    First #2. You're right that air quality doesn't have volition but for certain things in English we seem to allow inanimates to "have" volition. The most common one that comes to mind are things like restaurants, libraries, stores etc. We say,

    What time will the {___} open/close? My guess is that overall we prefer the active voice - is it because it's easier?

    Anywoo, air quality is another fairly common one that we "allow" volition for.

    There are no rules in English that require us to maintain parallel structures. That is simply a matter of style. In this example I'd choose the active, "air quality would improve".

    Quote Originally Posted by carelessman;512989
    However, co-working teacher mentioned intransitive usage of the word 'improve'.

    But I still think that 'improve' should be 'be improved'. For [I
    'The odd-even driving days improve air quality. '[/I] looks like the active counterpart.


    Would anyone kindly help me. Am I wrong or right?

    And if I am wrong on what part am I missing.
    No, you're not wrong. The passive form could also be used. In this situation, it is a matter of style.

    =carelessman;512989
    And on which part of the book or where am I supposed to look for the reference.

    Thanks.
    I don't think that you'll find anything dealing specifically with this one issue. If you want to read up on the passive in general, maybe someone can offer some good sources.
    Last edited by albeit; 09-Sep-2009 at 18:19.

  3. #3
    carelessman is offline Newbie
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    Default thank you

    Thank you.

    Your kind comment really helped me a lot.

    As a non-native English teacher, I thought I studied a lot. But I haven't really had a chance to look into the styles of writing.

    I will check some books on writing styles.

    Thanks again for your kindness.

  4. #4
    albeit is offline Banned
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    Default Re: thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by carelessman View Post
    Thank you.

    Your kind comment really helped me a lot.

    As a non-native English teacher, I thought I studied a lot. But I haven't really had a chance to look into the styles of writing.

    I will check some books on writing styles.

    Thanks again for your kindness.
    You're most welcome, Carelessman. Your overall grasp of this issue shows that you have studied a lot.

    This book has a good section on the passive. In fact, the whole book is excellent.

    The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course, Second Edition

    Amazon.com: The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course, Second Edition (9780838447253): Marianne Celce-Murcia, Diane Larsen-Freeman: Books

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