Investigating the effect of using passives

The slides in the Activity page in the right hand menu contain examples of passives from real writing. Have students do the following:

  • Look at the extracts in their contexts. 
  • Identify the passives.
  • For each example, discuss why you think a passive has been used rather than an active
  • Is the passive an agentless passive or is the agent expressed in a phrase starting with by? If it is agentless, why might the agent have been left unexpressed?
  • What is the effect if the passive is changed to an active? Try it and see.
  • Is the choice of a passive to do with the topic being discussed?



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