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Thread: Passive

  1. #1
    cooly Guest

    Default Passive

    Can I change this sentence into passive.
    1) I have a car.
    Whatever is the answer .Please Explain in detail Why?

    Someone has told me that some special verbs can't be passive even they are transive for example:
    Lack -----have ------- be ----------resemble

    Can you tell me more about this?
    Thanks alot.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
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    1) I have a car.
    The word have is a stative verb. You can't convert it into the passive. "The car is being had by me" certainly wouldn't be an English sentence. On the other hand, you could say "I drove the car" or "The car was driven by me".

    Some stative verbs can be expressed in the passive voice. Example:
    • The house is owned by Tom.




    Welcome to the forum!


  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passive

    Quote Originally Posted by cooly
    Can I change this sentence into passive.
    1) I have a car.
    Whatever is the answer .Please Explain in detail Why?

    Someone has told me that some special verbs can't be passive even they are transive for example:
    Lack -----have ------- be ----------resemble

    Can you tell me more about this?
    Thanks alot.
    First of all, only transitive verbs can be in the passive voice. This is because the direct object in the active voice becomses the subject in the passive voice. If there is no object, then there can be no passive sentence.

    Second, not all active voice verbs have a passive voice, and some passive uses of verbs change the meaning. "Have" is an example of the second. We can say "I have been had", but it means "cheated", not owned.

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    Default Re: Passive

    Quote Originally Posted by cooly
    Can I change this sentence into passive.
    1) I have a car.
    Whatever is the answer .Please Explain in detail Why?

    Someone has told me that some special verbs can't be passive even they are transive for example:
    Lack -----have ------- be ----------resemble

    Can you tell me more about this?
    Thanks alot.
    You can change an active sentence into the passive only iff you can maintain the same meaning:

    Active: I have a car. (Means, I own a car)
    Passive: A car is had by me. (Means, I cheat(ed) a car)

    ==> Notice the difference in meaning between the active sentence and the passive sentence. As Mike nicely pointed out, if there is a difference in meaning, then you know you can't change it into the passive voice.

    Active: I lack money. (Means, I don't have money)
    Passive: Money is lacked by me. (Means, I ACT on money)

    ==> Notice the change in meaning. Also, 'to lack something" describes a state. Passive verbs describe an ACT(ion). Active verbs undergo passivization because they express an action. The doer ACTS upon something:

    John (doer) ate the cake (something).
    The cake (something) was eaten by John (doer).

    Active: He is John. (Means, He is called John)
    Passive: John is by he. (Means, John is_____ by he)

    ==> Notice the change in meaning. Also notice the verb "BE" links a subject with its complement. There is no object, no 'something', in *John is_____ by he. There is a subject and its complement:

    He is John. (Subject & Complement)

    Passive verbs need objects--things the doer can act upon.

    Active: She resembles his mother. (She looks like his mother)
    Passive: His mother is resembled by her. (His mother is acted upon by her. ungrammatical)

    ==> Note the change in meaning from 'she looks like her', which is a description, to 'His mother is acted upon', which is an action.

    In short, passive structures have active transitive verbs (verbs that transfer an action onto someone or something.

    All the best,

  5. #5
    hopechest is offline Newbie
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    While on the topic of passive sentences, it is my experience that many writers, teachers, and even word processing software packages abhor the use of the passive voice, but are there any circumstances in which the passive voice might be best? Are there times when the passive voice is preferred or even required?

    I did a little research and here’s what a couple sites had to say on the matter:

    Active sentences tend to be a little shorter than passive ones, making writing more concise and snappy. Active sentences also tend to be more dynamic and easier to read and understand, thus a few sites recommend strongly using the active voice in particular forms of writing, such as technical documents. But when you're trying to describe someone doing things it can be hard to avoid repetitive sentence structure, i.e. starting a sentence with “he” or “she” followed by a verb phrase over and over.

    Passive sentences, however, can be used when you want to emphasize the thing done or the person/thing it was done to. Passive voice is also useful when the doer of the action is unknown or unimportant.

    Do you agree or disagree?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopechest
    While on the topic of passive sentences, it is my experience that many writers, teachers, and even word processing software packages abhor the use of the passive voice, but are there any circumstances in which the passive voice might be best? Are there times when the passive voice is preferred or even required?

    I did a little research and here’s what a couple sites had to say on the matter:

    Active sentences tend to be a little shorter than passive ones, making writing more concise and snappy. Active sentences also tend to be more dynamic and easier to read and understand, thus a few sites recommend strongly using the active voice in particular forms of writing, such as technical documents. But when you're trying to describe someone doing things it can be hard to avoid repetitive sentence structure, i.e. starting a sentence with “he” or “she” followed by a verb phrase over and over.

    Passive sentences, however, can be used when you want to emphasize the thing done or the person/thing it was done to. Passive voice is also useful when the doer of the action is unknown or unimportant.

    Do you agree or disagree?
    I completely agree. Those who express blanket disapproval of the passive voice do writing a disservice, IMO. Passive voice has a number of advantages, including avoiding endless repetition of pronouns. It is also very useful in technical material and reports in which what happened is far more important than who did it. That having been said, overuse of the passive voice in non-technical material can make writing drab and lifeless. But, that is not all uses of the passive voice. This structure can be useful, even in creative writing, to allow some variation in the language used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hopechest
    While on the topic of passive sentences, it is my experience that many writers, teachers, and even word processing software packages abhor the use of the passive voice, but are there any circumstances in which the passive voice might be best? Are there times when the passive voice is preferred or even required?

    I did a little research and here’s what a couple sites had to say on the matter:

    Active sentences tend to be a little shorter than passive ones, making writing more concise and snappy. Active sentences also tend to be more dynamic and easier to read and understand, thus a few sites recommend strongly using the active voice in particular forms of writing, such as technical documents. But when you're trying to describe someone doing things it can be hard to avoid repetitive sentence structure, i.e. starting a sentence with “he” or “she” followed by a verb phrase over and over.

    Passive sentences, however, can be used when you want to emphasize the thing done or the person/thing it was done to. Passive voice is also useful when the doer of the action is unknown or unimportant.

    Do you agree or disagree?
    Moreover, use the passive when the agent is unknown (e.g. The sun was created), when the object is in focus (e.g. The building was constructed out of glass), and when you don't want to name the agent or place focus on the agent (e.g. My car was in an accident --I crashed my car)

    All the best,

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by hopechest
    While on the topic of passive sentences, it is my experience that many writers, teachers, and even word processing software packages abhor the use of the passive voice, but are there any circumstances in which the passive voice might be best? Are there times when the passive voice is preferred or even required?

    I did a little research and here’s what a couple sites had to say on the matter:

    Active sentences tend to be a little shorter than passive ones, making writing more concise and snappy. Active sentences also tend to be more dynamic and easier to read and understand, thus a few sites recommend strongly using the active voice in particular forms of writing, such as technical documents. But when you're trying to describe someone doing things it can be hard to avoid repetitive sentence structure, i.e. starting a sentence with “he” or “she” followed by a verb phrase over and over.

    Passive sentences, however, can be used when you want to emphasize the thing done or the person/thing it was done to. Passive voice is also useful when the doer of the action is unknown or unimportant.

    Do you agree or disagree?
    Moreover, use the passive when the agent is unknown (e.g. The sun was created), when the object is in focus (e.g. The building was constructed out of glass), and when you don't want to name the agent or place focus on the agent (e.g. My car was in an accident --I crashed my car)

    All the best,
    Good additions, Cas. :wink:

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