I. Some problems of the Passive Voice
2. Peculiarities of Passive Voice with different verbs
3. Types of Passive Constructions
3.1. Direct Passive Constructions
3.2. Indirect Passive Constructions
3.3. Prepositional Passive Constructions
3.4. Phraseological Passive Constructions
3.5. Adverbial Passive Constructions
4. Frequency of usage
In the English Language it is rather difficult to single out the category of voice, as in English it is closely connected with syntax.
On the morphological level such forms as “is celebrated’, “was closed” do not provide any precise information about the category of Voice in the English Language.
The context plays the most important role in the English Language, so the differentiation of meanings of nominal compound predicate and passive voice is realized only on the syntactical level. On the morphological level of analyses voice opposition is realized only in the contradicting participial forms.
There is binomial opposition: active voice – passive voice In the English Language. The active voice indicates that the action is directed from the subject or issues from the subject, thus the subject denotes the doer (agent) of the action.
The passive voice indicates that the action is directed towards the subject. Here the subject expresses a person or non-person who is the receiver of the action. It does not act, but is acted upon and therefore affected by the action of the verb.
G. O. Curme wrote that the passive forms in English are used to express quite different things – action and state.
The passive is not the reverse of the active. The two constructions are not parallel in their use and serve different purposes.
The passive construction is generally used in the following cases:
1. Change of focus (it can change the emphasis of the sentence):
Charles won the prize. (focus on Charles)
The prize was won by Charles. (focus on prize)
2. Unknown agent (there is no point in adding an agent by somebody):
My wallet has been taken.
3. Obvious agent:
John has been arrested. (we assume by the police)
4. Unimportant agent:
I was advised to obtain a visa in advance.
5. Generalized agent (in the subject is “people in general” or “you” the agent is not mentioned):
Bicycles are widely used in the city instead of public transport.
6. Impersonality (the passive is a way of avoiding the naming of a
It has been decided to reduce all salaries by 10%.
Test papers are not to be taken outside the examination room.