Confusion of Passive Voice?
Hello. Mostly, when I see an example of passive voice, it almost always uses the word "by." For example, "The ball was kicked by Jenny." Anyway, could you explain why passive voice is misunderstood? Why do people think active voice is the way to go? Does passive voice always use the a form of "to be?"
- "The ball was kicked by Jenny." is old English! I don't understand how this relates to passive or active voice.03
- I believe it's not so much that passive voice is misunderstood, but that it is frowned upon because it is weak and ineffective.
"Jennie kicked the ball" has a lot more punch than "The ball was kicked by Jenny," don't you think?
I think passive voice requires the verb "to be" but I suggest you master it only for the purpose of avoiding it13
- I think there is a rule in writing that says something like "show don't tell" which I understand to mean show Jenny kicking the ball don't just tell the reader that she did it. This has the effect of the reader being more involved in the story as they are making up their own mind about what is happening. eg if someone is angry don't just say they are angry, show them yelling and gesticulating.
My point of all this is that if you show it will likely be in the active voice whereas telling people things might be passive. For this reason the passive voice is kinda looked down upon cos you aren't showing you are just telling.00
- 1.Sentences of active voice apparently reflect what the subject is going to do.If the verb is transitive, object can also be used.
She knows the story .
Here the verb "know+s" have the object "the story" .
She goes home at night.
Here "go+es" doesn't have an object, so it's an intransitive verb .This sentence can never be made passuve for being an intransitive verb.
But the first sentence can be turned into passive.
The story is known to her.(Genterally "by agent" is used to turn active-voice sentences into passive but when there is the verb "know", "by" is to be replaced by "to".
"to be " verbs are used to turn sentences of active voice into passive.
For instance, - The teacher teaches English.If it's turned into passive , the strucure will be-
English IS taught by the teacher.
Here "is" becomes an auxiliary verb and "by the teacher" is called "by agent".
- Passive voice is completely misunderstood by today's so-called educators. They are teaching that passive voice is to be avoided and that, in some mysterious ways they they cannot defend, passive voice is inferior. Meanwhile, most of those who teach this, especially those at elementary and high school level, have no idea how to determine whether something is either passive or active. They do brainwash students into believing that passive is bad. But even those who started this vendetta against passive voice don't follow their own precepts.
One of the sources of the denigration of passive is Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style.' That contained the rule: "Use the active voice," and adds some editorializing about how the passive is "less bold, and less concise," and if you leave out the agent it becomes "indefinite." Yet on the same page, they write: "Many a tame sentence of description or exposition CAN BE MADE lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is or could be heard." See any irony there?
You will often see something like: "The passive voice always has a form of 'to be' plus a past participle." Not really. While 'to be' is most common by far, several other verbs may be used to form passive voice. The most commonly used is 'get, ' as in: Mary's car got stolen last night. Other verbs are come, go, have, hear, make, need, see, and a few others. Examples:
I saw him attacked by the dog..
I had this made for me by a carpenter.
The problem went unnoticed by the owner.
Rarely, the present participle may be used instead of the past. That almost always comes with the verb 'need.'
The rug needs cleaning. That's a bit hard to see as a passive, but think about it - the rug can't clean itself. Passive is more obvious if you change the sentence to use an infinitive: The rug needs to be cleaned.
At any rate, the passive voice is misunderstood because, for some unknown reason, educators have swallowed the unsubstantiated guidance from some self-designated experts that it is bad,
Read anything by a good writer - from Chaucer through Shakespeare up to John Grisham and Tom Clancy. You'll find passive voice. Make a special effort to check out some of Winston Churchill's works. He was a prolific user of passive voice, with some of his works having over 50% passive voice verbs. All that got him was a Nobel Prize for literature.
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