- For Teachers
Dear Sir / Madam
What does the term "Passive" mean when writing sentences?
Thank you in advance for your help.
Someone took my book. (active)
My book was taken. (passive)
In active voice the subject does the acting. In passive voice the subject is acted upon.
Active voice: Ron ate the hamburger.
Passive voice: The hamburger was eaten by Ron.
Hello again, my dear teachers!
Let me ask you about the usage of Passive voice.
My English-speaking teacher has recently taught me that Passive voice is used when an acting person is unknown, obvious or unimportant.
As I understood it’s used if we don’t need or cannot name the person, but I’m not sure about the usage of Passive voice when the person is identified, i.e. “The hamburger was eaten by Ron”, “Bakewell church was founded by the saxons in 920AD and is one of the finest churches in the Peak District”.
I guess the first sentence might have meant: “Ron, and not somebody else, ate the hamburger”. The author of the second one describes the church and the founders are not his main thought.
Nevertheless I’d like you to give me some more comments about using of Passive voice. It would be so kind of you!
Thanks in advance!
Well, that certainly can be true, but it doesn't have to be true.Originally Posted by Anatoly
The vase was knocked over. (We don't know who knocked over the vase.)
The vase was knocked over by one of the kids who were playing in the hallway. (We still don't know who knocked over the vase.)
The vase was knocked over by Billy, who was being careless. (Billy knocked over the vase.)
Does that help? Is it what you had in mind?
(Waiting for TDOL to chime in. )
Yes, it is! It helps indeed. Perhaps I misunderstood something in the teacher's explanations. :(Originally Posted by RonBee
Thank you very much, RonBee!
You're quite welcome, as always.Originally Posted by Anatoly
Sorry to put yet another spanner in the works, but if we know who knocked over the vase, wouldn't it be more natural to say: 'Billy knocked over the vase'? In that case the culprit is important.
It would be more natural, but it wouldn't be the passive voice. Also, I think the "culprit" would be important in any case, but that's just my opinion.Originally Posted by Lib