"Passive" sentence structure

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Anonymous

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Dear Sir / Madam
What does the term "Passive" mean when writing sentences?

Thank you in advance for your help.
Sincerely
R. Bupp
 

Tdol

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Someone took my book. (active)

My book was taken. (passive)
;-)
 

RonBee

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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.

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Anatoly

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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!
 

RonBee

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Anatoly said:
My English-speaking teacher has recently taught me that Passive voice is used when an acting person is unknown, obvious or unimportant.

Well, that certainly can be true, but it doesn't have to be true.

Example one:
The vase was knocked over. (We don't know who knocked over the vase.)

Example two:
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.)

Example three:
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. ;-) )

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Anatoly

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RonBee said:
Anatoly said:
My English-speaking teacher has recently taught me that Passive voice is used when an acting person is unknown, obvious or unimportant.
Well, that certainly can be true, but it doesn't have to be true.
Does that help? Is it what you had in mind?
Yes, it is! It helps indeed. Perhaps I misunderstood something in the teacher's explanations. :(
Thank you very much, RonBee!
 

RonBee

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Anatoly said:
Thank you very much, RonBee!

You're quite welcome, as always.

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Lib

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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.
 

RonBee

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Lib said:
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.

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RonBee

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Passive voice.

The poem was written.
The poem was written in 1965.
The poem was written by Amiri Baraka in 1965.

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RonBee

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Passive voice.

The posms and stories were read.
The poems and stories were read by Ron.
The poems and stories were read by Ron to the kids.
The poems and stories were read by Ron to the kids at Froebel School.

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ESL-lover

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Hello my teachers................

What is the function of agent in passive voice? :?:

Is it important to mention it in the passive sentences? :?:

Thanks...................
 

RonBee

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ESL-lover said:
Hello my teachers................

What is the function of agent in passive voice? :?:

Is it important to mention it in the passive sentences? :?:

Can you elaborate on that? Do you mean the use of the word agent?

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RonBee

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There are some words that are typical features of the passive voice. The word agent is not one of them. It can, of course, be used in such a sentence, thus: "The agent was deceived."

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RonBee

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The book was read.
The book was read by Ron.
The book was read by Ron to the kids.
The book was read by Ron to the kids at Froebel School.
===============================

The story was told.
The war was won.
The war was lost.
The book was read by me.
Sarah was called to dinner.
The fire was lit.
The fire was started by Ron.
The bone was chewed by the dog.


He was lied to.
She was misled.
They were deceived.

The game was being played.
The deed was done.
The food was eaten.

The thing is being talked about.
The book is being read.
The book is being read to the kids.
The children are being taught.
The house is being painted.
The food is being heated.
The story is being told.
The story is being told throughout the land.
The book is being read by many people.
The air is being warmed by the sun.
 

Red5

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ESL-lover said:
Hello my teachers................

What is the function of agent in passive voice? :?:

Is it important to mention it in the passive sentences? :?:

Thanks...................

Here's an example I found on the internet that might help clear things up regarding agent:

How do we know we know if a sentence is using the passive voice?

Outlaw
The horse was seen by Carolyn.



The subject: the horse
The action: seeing
The acting agent (who acts?): Carolyn
The subject and the acting agent are not the same. Therefore, this sentence is in passive voice.
From: http://ace.acadiau.ca/english/grammar/passive.htm
 

RonBee

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Red5 said:
ESL-lover said:
Hello my teachers................

What is the function of agent in passive voice? :?:

Is it important to mention it in the passive sentences? :?:

Thanks...................

Here's an example I found on the internet that might help clear things up regarding agent:

How do we know we know if a sentence is using the passive voice?

Outlaw
The horse was seen by Carolyn.



The subject: the horse
The action: seeing
The acting agent (who acts?): Carolyn
The subject and the acting agent are not the same. Therefore, this sentence is in passive voice.
From: http://ace.acadiau.ca/english/grammar/passive.htm

Thanks, Red! I think that clears up the meaning of that question. :)

May I post a couple more examples of sentences in the passive voice?
:)

"Hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the fire."

"A hundred people are killed by lighning every year."

"The fugitive was sighted in Juarez, Mexico."

"What is admirable about Mr. Pryor's personal deportment is his refusal to cavil."


No more sample sentences. I promise. :wink:

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