Passive Jan104a


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  • ESL grammar construction with BE (it WAS done, he has BEEN told, it will BE done, etc.)
  • Correction. The guests got to know each other better as they ate dinner. (or inverted)
  • Passive Jan104a

    1. 1. Active and Passive Voices
    2. 2. Passive Voice <ul><li>The passive voice emphasizes the action being performed rather than the person doing the action </li></ul><ul><li>The passive voice has two main uses : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To present ideas objectively </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Showing that the results are more important than the person doing the work) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The surveys were tabulated.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To avoid using names or assigning blame </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ An unfortunate error has occurred.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Construction of passive voice sentences: <ul><li>They begin with a thing rather than a person </li></ul><ul><li>They use a two-word verb </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ is” or “was” followed by a past-tense verb </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They sometimes end with a phrase starting with “by ” that identifies the doer of the action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All expenses were approved by the CEO. </li></ul></ul>Starts with a thing Two-word verb Can be left out
    4. 4. Active Voice <ul><li>The active voice is preferred for most type of business writing because it is shorter, more personal, and more forceful </li></ul><ul><li>In active voice sentences, the subject of the verb performs the action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I heated the solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You made a mistake </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Active versus Passive Voice
    6. 6. Are the following sentences in the active or the passive voice? <ul><li>My professor is teaching three courses. </li></ul><ul><li>These three courses are taught by the same professor. </li></ul><ul><li>The Economist is read by many students and professionals. </li></ul><ul><li>I enjoy reading The Economist . </li></ul><ul><li>The issue of electoral reform was discussed by the students. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Q: What is the difference between the active and the passive voice?
    8. 8. A: In an sentence using the active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action . In a sentence using the passive voice, the subject of the sentence receives the action .
    9. 9. Examples: <ul><li>Active : Active sentences (subject) focus (action, done by the subject) on the person doing the action. </li></ul><ul><li>Passive : The recipient of the action (subject) is focused (action, not done by the subject), on in a passive sentence. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Examples: <ul><li>Active : The explorers climbed the tallest mountain. </li></ul><ul><li>Passive : The tallest mountain was climbed by the explorers. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Examples: <ul><li>Active : Professor Stevens compiled the largest collection of Shakespeare’s sources. </li></ul><ul><li>Passive : The largest collection of Shakespeare’s sources was compiled by Professor Stevens. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Active versus Passive <ul><li>Active Voice </li></ul><ul><li>More emphatic </li></ul><ul><li>More concise </li></ul><ul><li>Used as the general rule </li></ul><ul><li>Passive Voice </li></ul><ul><li>Used when you want to stress the importance of the action or its recipient. </li></ul><ul><li>Used when the actor is unknown or irrelevant. </li></ul><ul><li>Used when one wants to avoid (evitar) mentioning the actor : Ex. Mistakes were made. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Q: So what’s the problem?
    14. 14. A: 1. You should not switch (cambiar) active and passive voices in the same sentence ! 2. Be careful with the grammatical construction .
    15. 15. Examples of switching voices in the same sentence: <ul><li>The contentious issue was contemplated as the debaters prepared to present their arguments. </li></ul><ul><li>Once the books were finished , the writers talked to the publisher. </li></ul><ul><li>The pipes in the kitchen were fixed , then the plumber started repairing the showers. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Switching voices can confuse the reader. If your reader is confused, then your writing is not effective or efficient.
    17. 17. Q: How do I fix (arreglar) it (switching voices)?
    18. 18. A: Make all parts of your sentence consistent . Usually, you should change the passive voice to the active voice .
    19. 19. Corrections: <ul><li>Incorrect: Once the books were finished , the writers talked to the publisher. </li></ul><ul><li>Correct: Once the writers finished their books, they talked to the publisher. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Corrections: <ul><li>Incorrect: The pipes in the kitchen were fixed , then the plumber started repairing the showers. </li></ul><ul><li>Correct: The plumber fixed the pipes in the kitchen then he started repairing the showers. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Examples of Mistaken Grammatical Construction in the Passive Voice: <ul><li>The horses will groomed . </li></ul><ul><li>The great apple tree had cut down . </li></ul><ul><li>The hungry bear would shot by the hunter. </li></ul><ul><li>Shoes is made in the factory. </li></ul><ul><li>Bicycles should not be leaving in the driveway. </li></ul><ul><li>This skyscraper will finish in 2009. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Q: How do I fix it (mistaken grammatical construction in the passive voice)?
    23. 23. 1. Make sure to know who is receiving the action and who is doing the action . 2. Verify that you have BE + past participle in your sentence! 3. Verify your tenses and your subject-verb agreement !
    24. 24. Corrections: <ul><li>Incorrect : The horses will groomed . </li></ul><ul><li>Correct : The horses will be groom ed . </li></ul>
    25. 25. Corrections: <ul><li>Incorrect : The great apple tree had cut down. </li></ul><ul><li>Correct : The great apple tree had be en cut down. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Corrections: <ul><li>Incorrect : The hungry bear would shot by the hunter. </li></ul><ul><li>Correct : The hungry bear would be shot by the hunter. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Self Test: Correct the following sentences if there is an inconsistency in voice.
    28. 28. <ul><li>The new product design will finish very soon. </li></ul><ul><li>They was cooking dinner when I arrived. </li></ul><ul><li>The preparations had all be finished when the guests arrived. </li></ul><ul><li>The refreshments are going to be provide by Karen. </li></ul>
    29. 29. <ul><li>Mistakes had made by the politicians. - The dinner was eaten as the guests got to know each other better. - “Dubliners” wrote by James Joyce. </li></ul>
    30. 30. Visit the Writing Centre: LIB 272 B Telephone: 416-979-5000 ext. 7192 Website: Email address:
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