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The Passive Voice

The Passive Voice



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Published by Mubarak Abdessalami

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Published by: Mubarak Abdessalami on Oct 09, 2007
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The Passive Voice, The Easy Way !M. Abdessalami
The Passive Voice, The Easy Way !M. Abdessalami
It is true that the passive voice is most talked about by our students. I think wecan go beyond the formal grammar rules and deal with it in the funniest way. That's - between us- a sort of word games. Let's enjoy talking about the passive voice in theabsence of Mr R.G.R (Rigid Grammar Rule). We will be back biters for a while, yet Ihope in the benefit of both The Passive Voice and our students.Let's make one of the old so missed rules our starting point. The rule says: theobject of the active sentence is always the subject of the passive one. But before all let'ssee what does the active sentence look like before the operation then go to discuss theprocess the doctor follows during the operation and examine the patient after theoperation. It is not an easy work to do, I admit it.<<
The passive voice of any transitive verb is made by combining its past  participle with the appropriate tense of the verb "to be" 
>>, the teacher said. He meansthat the verb to be is
always the doctor who can operate on the sentence successfully in a"passive voice" surgery.
Take this so called the patient
sentence, for instance,
Someone plays the piano every night
This sentence is composed of a
: (
), a
: (
), and an
. And the latter is the organ that gears the whole operation. It is the most important partof the utterance to make the operation feasible. What we have to do first is to pull the object down to begin our new sentence with.
The piano............
 After that we prepare the verb to be for the operation. The verb is going to be the patient. We make a quick diagnostic to look for two essential things about it; that's to say the verb itself:
and its tense:
the simple present 
. This should not take time; it is amatter of a fraction of a second. What for?! The
should be taken to the verb playsand given to "to be". Thus the verb "
to be
" in the simple present is am, is, or are. It is ournew subject which decides on the best choice. In this case, "The piano" must logically choose is because it is the most suitable for it. No doubt our sentence in the passive willprogress this way,
The piano is..........
Now the verb
goes directly to take the
 past participle
form i.e.:
 becauseit is a regular verb. Thus we reach,
The piano is played........
Is it necessary to add anything? Yes, it is. We shouldn't forget about the adverb of time"every night" to finally have,
The piano is played every night.
However (by someone) is not correct at all because the agent or (the doer) is notknown and is adding no information to the sentence. On the contrary, if the agent is"Bach" for instance we have to mention him. Compare, ACTIVE VOICE: Someone plays the piano every night.PASSIVE VOICE:
The piano is played every night.
Every night, the piano is played.
The Passive Voice, The Easy Way !M. Abdessalami
 And ACTIVE VOICE: Bachir plays the piano every night.PASSIVE VOICE:
The piano is played by Bachir every night.
Every night, the piano is played (by Bachir)
.The agent, however, is not to be mentioned because its effect on the informationthat the Passive sentence transmits is almost null.Here is another example, but this time in a different tense:
The present  progressive tense
. ACTIVE VOICE: The student
is reading
The page
is being read 
(by the student)
If you have learnt how to transform the sentence from the active to the passive you'll be able to explain the changes that have occurred on this sentence.The object is the page the verb "read" is sustained by an auxiliary (is) whichshould not be changed unless the subject is in plural. With the present perfect things look quite easier because even you don't learn theirregular verbs this form gives you - freeware - past participles of the verbs you need totransform. Take this sentence for example. What remains to concentrate upon is theinsertion of "been" in the right place. Study these examples:
has broken
the window pane.PASSIVE VOICE:
The window pane has
 broken (by the dog).
 ACTIVE VOICE: The housewife has
the floor.PASSIVE VOICE:
The floor has
swept (by the housewife).
Besides this, when the active sentence is in the future; or any of the modals isused, the passive sentence seems quite easier to do. The structure is as follows:
[Subject + modal + be + past participle]
The following tables illustrate how the transformation is done:Halima
ought to
has to
etc...mail the letter.

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