Stage 5 Stage 6

La voz activa se sustenta sobre los tiempos naturales del verbo, siendo esta la forma común en la que nos expresamos. En la voz activa la acción parte del sujeto: El profesor explicó la gramática con muchos ejemplos. Por el contrario, en la voz pasiva, el sujeto es quien recibe la acción del verbo: La gramática fue explicada con muchos ejemplos por el profesor. A tenor del ejemplo anterior, es lógico comprender por qué la voz pasiva no es percibida como natural en la lengua castellana por considerarse demasiado formal. De hecho, diríamos que nuestro idioma es de voz activa, como el inglés lo es de la voz pasiva.

Es por ello que creemos importante dedicarle un espacio gramatical tanto a la voz activa como a la voz pasiva en inglés. Damos paso, por tanto, al contenido que nos adentrará en el comportamiento y estructura de “the active and passive voice”.

This week’s blog is about the active and passive voice. The active voice communicates that the subject does the action, whereas the passive voice communicates that the subject receives the action.

We form the passive voice by using the verb ‘to be’ and the past participle of a verb. We usually follow this structure with the word ‘by’ to indicate who does the action, however we don’t always say who does the actiona nd in this case we would not use the word ‘by’.

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The verb ‘to be’ tells us when the action happened and the past participle tells us what the action was.

In the passive voice the subject isn’t doing anything, therefore it is not active but passive. For example if we say «The wall was painted by the painter» the subject is the wall but it is not doing anything; it is the painter who is doing the action. The wall is receiving the action and therefore it is passive. We say «was» which means that the action happened in the past. The word «painted» tells us what the action was and we follow this with the words «by the painter» which tell us who did the action.

Another example of the passive voice is to say «The food was cooked by the chef». In this sentence the food is the subject but it isn’t active, it is passive. The chef is the one who is doing the action.

An example of the active voice is to say «I cooked the food». Here the subject is me and I am doing the action, therefore the subject is active. Another example of the active voice is to say «He painted the house». In this example «he» is the subject and he is doing the action so the subject is active.

We use the passive voice for various reasons. For example we use it when we don’t know who did the action. We can say «The window has been broken» and in this sentence we don’t know who broke the window, all we know is that it was broken and that somebody did it, but we don’t know who did it. Another example of this is to say «The lights were left on last night at the office». Again, we don’t know who left the lights on but we know that they were left on by somebody.

We also use the passive voice when we don’t want to say who does the action. For example we can say «You were seen taking the money without permission». In this sentence we are telling somebody that they have been caught doing something wrong and that somebody saw them doing it, but to avoid confrontation between the person who was caught and the person who caught them, we don’t mention the name of the person who caught them. Another example of this is to say «A complaint has been made against you». In this example we don’t want to reveal the identity of the person who made the complaint so we don’t say who it was.

We also use the passive voice when it is not important who does the action. For example, if we say «The football club was established in 1922», it isn’t important who established the club but it is important to say when it was established. You could also say that «The mobile phone was invented in 1973» and again it isn’t important who invented it, but that it was invented at that time.

One more use of the passive voice is when it is obvious who does the action.For example if I say «The man was arrested», we know that it was the police who arrested the man therefore it is not necessessary for me to say «by the police». If somebody says «I was given lots of homework», it is obvious that they were given the homework by their teacher therefore you don’t have to say that it was the teacher who gave them the homework.

Now that you know how to form the passive voice and in what situations you can use it you should practise it.

 

G. Harman

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