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PASSIVE VOICE

Any Difference in Meaning?


Early on, it was seen as a legitimate method of
regulating society and culture, and it is still perceived
that way by some.

Early on, people saw it as a legitimate method of


regulating society and culture, and some still
perceive it that way.
1. THE FORM OF PASSIVE
Tense/ Verb form Active voice Passive voice

Simple present writesis written


Present continuous is writing is being written
Simple past wrote was written
Past continuous was writing was being written
Present perfect has written has been written
Past perfect had written had been written
Future will write will be written
Present infinitive to write to be written
Perfect infinitive to have written to have been written
2. THE ACTIVE-PASSIVE VOICE RELATION
2.1 The Verb Phrase Level

be + past participle/
get + past participle

Last week Laura got (=was) moved to another


department.
Youll get (=be) sacked if you take any more time off.
Lots of postmen get(=are) bitten by dogs.
2.2 The Clause Level
ACTIVE PASSIVE

Bell invented the telephone. The telephone was


invented by Bell.

subject and agent object subject


agent

the active subject becomes the passive agent


the active object becomes the passive subject
the preposition by is introduced before the agent (an optional element):
We mention the agent:

The cheque must be signed by the bank manager.


Romeo and Juliet was written by Shakespeare.
We do not mention the agent:

a) if it does not add any new information:


Allour money and passports were stolen.
A man was arrested last night.

b) if it is not important:
Oil has been discovered at the North Pole.

c) when it is difficult to say who the agent is:


A number of attempts have been made to find the Loch Ness monster.
3. PASSIVE IN SCIENTIFIC
WRITING
used more frequently in scientific writing than in other
types of writing
scientific writing: impersonal, objective, logical, and the
content is logically organized
scientificwriting deals with descriptions, analysis,
giving evidence, providing information, etc. so the
agent is usually abstract and not necessary to be
mentioned:
The research was conducted by the group of scientists at Yale University.

vs.

The group of scientists at Yale University conducted the research.

PASSIVE: the action being performed is the theme, the agent is less
important than the procedure/principle/process
ACTIVE: the agent is emphasized
3.1.Some Uses of Passive in Scientific Writing

Descriptions of standard procedures


Subjects are tested on three different types of abilities.
Descriptions of the state of knowledge
Any piece of writing is regularly proofread before publishing.
Summarizing or paraphrasing the table or figure legends
The most frequent mistranslation errors are given in Figure 6.1.
Definitions

Interpreting is defined as converting one spoken language into another.


4. RESTRICTIONS
not all transitive verbs allow a passive transformation
John has three sons.
The French word maison means the house.

reciprocal verbs such as resemble, look like, equal, marry, etc.


John resembles/looks like his father.
Three times two equals six.

verbs of containing such as contain, hold, lack


5. PASSIVE IN CROATIAN

Tekst je preveden i lektoriran...


Provjeravana ja hipoteza o...

Mole se studenti da...


Ispit se odrava dana...
References
Eastwood, J. (2003) Oxford Practice Grammar. Oxford: OUP.
Quirk,
R. & Greenbaum, S. (1987) A University Grammar of English. Harlow:
Longman House.