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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Passive Voice    

Passive Voice


Passive Voice
Hello everyone. I have a simple question. A private std had a test on PV. this is one of the sentences and his answer
OS: The children broke the window during the break
PV: The window was broken during the break by the children
Is the PV sentence correct???

8 Oct 2009      

Hong Kong

Yes, but I would put "during the break" at the end as in the active voice sentence. Time determiners usually stay in the same spot in a passive voice sentence.

8 Oct 2009     

Hong Kong

technically it is not, as we have to put the doer of the action right after the verb clause and then tell when it happened.  otherwise the object of the verb can become ambigous
 so it should go
what was done
by whom, and then..
so,  the window was broken   by the children    during the break.
as your student has what is called an ambiguous conflict, as it appears that there is a break by the children    which of course is an error.  there is no break by the children.  get it?

8 Oct 2009     

United States

Yes, I agree in principle with the afore mentioned answers. Still, I would not count it incorrect if communicative language learning is the classroom goal because language does not exist in a vacuum, and the student s sentence could be uttered in some scenarios.

Q: When was the window broken and who broke it?
A: The window was broken during the break, by the children.

Then it is not a case of a word order mistake, but a punctuation mistake, i.e., leaving out a comma. Hope this helps.

8 Oct 2009     


Actually, this isn t quite true - the "by" doesnt need to go beside the "verb"... In fact, my grammar books show otherwise - and most of the time, it is encouraged that the person be omitted altogether!


A: I remember my father taking me to the Zoo.
B: I remember being taken to the Zoo by my father.

What the problem - and to me it isn t a problem per say - is the time clause "during the break". It should go at the end or at the front of the sentence - or if it goes in the middle it should be separated by commas.

During the day, the window was broken (by the children).
The window was broken during the day (by the children).
The window was broken, during the day, by the children. - This sentence is usually considered to be a sort of a rhetorical type construction and many teachers today say "no" to it but it s not incorrect.

8 Oct 2009     


Thx for all you answers and the time taken :)
Unfortunately most schools in my country still aim at FCE and CAE and so teach english in an extremely structued-non-communicative way. In facet,many kids can produce hreat pieces of writing but cannot put two words together *sigh*
BTW, cool username...you own a red camaro??

8 Oct 2009