The Passive Voice Essay

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The Passive Voice The English language has two voices--the active and the passive. The active voice and the passive voice differ in that a passive verb phrase has an additional auxiliary BE followed by an EN participle. In a sense, the English passive is "inflexible" when compared to the passive formation of other languages. For example, some languages use word order, verb inflections, and impersonal constructions to form the passive voice. In their book, The Grammar Book: ESL/EFL Teacher's Course, Celce-Murcia and Larson-Freeman demonstrate how the Bantu passive voice differs from the English passive voice. "Kingarwanda, a Bantu language, can make even a locative phrase the subject of the passive as in On the bus was eaten a…show more content…
In order to better understand the usage rules of the English passive voice, it is necessary to begin by examining the most common grammatical function order of English sentences, subject-verb-object. Active and passive sentences Subject-verb-object (S-V-O) is the basic structure of English sentences and defines the grammatical function order of active voice sentences. For example, I can handle Mary is a sentence in the active voice which demonstrates the S-V-O pattern. However, S-V-O is not the only sentence pattern of the English language; object-verb-subject (O-V-S) is an alternative pattern. For example, Mary, I can handle produces an O-V-S pattern. In addition to the grammatical function of a sentence such as subject, verb, and object, each noun phrase in a sentence has a semantic role. Semantic roles are discussed in Finegan and Besnier's chapter on semantics (171). Several of the semantic roles Finegan and Besnier list are: agent, patient, experiencer, instrument, and locative (200). Therefore, when taking the sentence Americans join Chinese in their morning from the New York Times Editorial Corpus, one can label Americans the agent, the responsible initiator of the action. The above sentence, Americans join Chinese in their morning, has two focus positions, a main focus position and a secondary focus position. The main focus is on
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