Please teach me about passive voice .i need help! How to use it?
Aug 21, 2018 9:20 AM
Answers · 4
Hi Martin, 1. Function We use the passive voice to give emphasis to something that has happened recently or in the past. That's why we find it in the news headings ( for example :" A bank was robbed last night") or when we talk about inventions and discoveries (" The radio was invented by Marconi). 2. Grammar: how do we make the passive voice? We have a subject "the radio", a verb "was invented" and the agent "by Marconi". The agent is the subject of the active form : "Marconi invented the radio". It is not always necessary to express the agent. In the above mentioned example " A bank was robbed last night" we don't find any agent because what is important here is what happened to the bank, not who robbed the bank. 3. From active to passive Let's go back to Marconi to understand how to convert an active sentence into a passive one. In the active sentence "Marconi invented the radio" we have: Subject= "Marconi, a Verb "invented" (simple past) and an Object "the radio". The active voice structure is then SVO. When we convert the sentence into a passive voice the Object "radio" becomes the Subject while the Subject "Marconi" becomes the Agent "by Marconi". "The radio was invented by Marconi". 4.How to convert the verb? The verb in the passive voice is "to be+past participle". In "Marconi invented the radio" we have a regular simple past "invented" and a singular subject "Marconi". So what you really have to focus on is to conjugate the verb TO BE according to the person(I,you, he, she, it, we, you, they) and the tense ( here we have a simple past). The simple past of the verb to be for the subject "Marconi" is WAS. To WAS we add the past participle of the verb "invent" that is "invented" so we have "The radio was invented by Marconi" Here you will find more details about how to convert active sentences into passive and some online exercises, too.
August 21, 2018
The main reason we use the passive voice is when we want to emphasis the action rather than the actor or we don't know who did the action. For example: I was robbed. (I don't know who robbed me. Saying this in the passive emphasizes my plight as a victim.) The passive is frequently used in formal language when it may be cumbersome to identify the actor each time. For example: It is thought that global warming is caused by C02 emissions. (In a long essay, it could be problematic to keep repeating words like "scientists say", "scientists believe", "experts warn", etc. Using the passive voice eliminates this problem.) These are just two examples of passive usage. Follow the link posted by Paola to learn more.
August 21, 2018
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