Grade 10 Grammar Lesson 34 Using passives

When is the active voice preferable?
When is the passive voice preferable?

Grade 10 Grammar Lesson 34 Using passives (1)

  •  We can present the same information in two different orders. We use active voice if we want to say what the agent (doer) did.
  •  We use passive voice if we want to say what happened (to the bearer). The ‘agent’ goes in a prepositional phrase with by if we want to mention it.
  •  Normally, we use the passive in the following circumstances.

                   the agent is unknown

                  the agent is ‘people in general’

                  the agent is unimportant

                  the agent is ‘obvious’

  •  We usually prefer a passive structure instead of an active structure with people, we, you, they or somebody as the agent.
  •  We also prefer to mention the object rather than the subject (agent) first when the action (what happened) is more important than who did it.
  • We also prefer passive voice when the agent consists of long expressions.
  •  We may also use passive imperatives especially in describing procedures. The passive structure of imperatives begins in ‘Let.

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