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Thread: organization

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
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    hi, i am having an oral examination on passive voice and i wanted to know if the organization of the information i am going to talk about is ok, could you help me?.
    Passive voice
    I am going to talk about the chapter devoted on passive voice by celce- murcia. First, it is important to mention the form of the english passive. Passive voice in english is formed by the verb tobe + past participle. but there are other verbs wich can fulfill the function of auxliaries in passive like get and have. The first one is associated with verbs wich emphasise actions or processes and they are more likely to occur with adverbs of frequency ; the man continually got wipped out. As get passive does not function in questions and negatives, do, must serve as an operator in this case. Eg. Did bruno get arrested?. No, he did not even get cought. Another verb is have, wich enphasize the subject as experiencer, like mary had her pursed snached. Have passives, includes an intervening noun phrase. Passive voice interacts with other elements in the auxiliary:
    With modals: can be mined
    With simple present: are mined
    With present perfect: have been mined
    With present progressive: are being mined
    With simple past: were mined
    With past progressive: were being mined
    With be going to for future : are going to be mined

    It is also important to take into account the meaning of the passive, wich is said to be a grammatical meaning rather than a lexical one, passive voice is a focus construction that exist to put the patient, that is to said the reciever or undergoer of an action in subject position. The acceptability of passive sentences is influenced by several factors, the first one claims that the more definite the subject is the more acceptable the sentence in its passive form is. Eg. The poem was written (definite)
    Poems were written (indefinite)
    The second one claims that having in mind stative verbs, the more indefinite the the subject in the by phrase is, the more likely it is to be acceptable in its passive form . and the third one claims that te more the verb denotes a physical action, as oposed to a state, the more acceptable in its passive form is. Subject + np : represents given information, the subject of a passive sentence needs to be somehow affected by the action of the verb.
    There is a middle voice intermediate between active and passive voice, it allows the subject to be nonagentive, as in the passive voice, but the morphology of the verb to be is in the active voice eg. The glass shatered. it can be expressed by different types of verbs, verbs of cooking- bake, boil by verbs of physical movement- move,shake , verbs that involve vehicles- drive,fly and with also intransitive verbs that take the reciever of the action as subjects like verbs of occurence- happen, occur, take place , verbs of directed motion- arrive, fall, rise , verbs of description- appear, dissapear. There are also ergative verbs, special verbs wich can appear in all the three voices and thus take the patient or undergoer of an action as subject. We know that passive voice suggest the existance of an agent, even if it is not explicit, but the verb used ergatively does not permit the existance of an agent. Eg. The window broke
    There are situations agentless sentences are preffered to passive sentences with an explicit or implicit agent. _ when the focus is on the change of state and the agent is irrelevant- the bank closes at 5 pm
    _ when the writer´s objective is to create an aura of mystery or suspense, that is things seem to be happening whithout the intervention of an agent- we were reading when suddenly the door opened
    _ when the subject is something so fragile or unstable that it can break, change or disolve without the intervention of an agent - left hanging on the fence the ballon suddenly burst
    _ when it is natural to expect change to occur- the ice melted earlier than usual
    _ when there are so many possible causes for a change of state that it would be misleading to imply a single agent – prices increased due to a variety of factors.
    If we have take into account the use of the passive, passive voice is used when.
    _ the agent is not mentioned because- it is redundant or easy to supply, it is known, it is very general, the speaker or writer is being to facfull, the speaker is being evasive (examples)
    _ when the nonagent is more closely related than the agent to the theme of the text- the passive topicalises the patient or reciever
    _ when the nonagent is a participant in the inmediatly preceding sentence, when new information is introduced in the rheme of one sentence and then becomes the theme of the sentence (explain concepts of theme and rheme). Moreover, having in mind agented passives, it is important to say as the function of the passive is to defocus the agent, agented passives are used _ when the agent is new information and thus it goes in final position
    _ when the agent is nonhuman
    _ when the agent is well known and should be included as propositional information

    thank toy very much- aldana

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    Re: organization

    Are you going to be giving a talk or responding to questions? If it's a talk, then you have the basic information laid out here, but it would need quite heavy editing as there are a lot of little errors there. The part about definite/indefinite sentences and their acceptability in passive sentences is a little unclear.

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