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Passive Sentence - Glossary of Terms


Passive Sentence

In a passive sentence, the subject does not perform the action in the sentence.  In fact, the action is performed on it.

Examples:

Anita was driven to the theatre.
(In this example, "Anita" is the subject of the sentence - subject of the verb "was".  However, she did not perform the action of the verb "to drive".  The action was done to her; she was the recipient of the action.)
Nowadays, kites are protected.
("kites" - passive subject, i.e., the action is being done to them)
The olives are stoned and crushed in this area. 
("olives" - passive subject, i.e., the actions are being done to them)

In a passive sentence, the person or thing doing the action is usually preceded by the word "by".

Examples:

Anita was driven to the theatre by Carla.
Nowadays, kites are protected by law.
The olives are stoned and crushed in this area by my son.

The opposite of a passive sentence is an active sentence, in which the subject does perform the action of the verb. 

Interactive example:
 
Russell will be identified by the local postman.  [convert to an active sentence]
 
Many companies do not like their staff to write using passive sentences.  Therefore, a number of grammar checkers will often suggest an active version of your passive sentence. However, if you prefer the passive version, stick with it.
Associated pages:
 
Glossary of grammatical terms  
 

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