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Passive (2)

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1) It has been drawn to my attention that some staff are leaving early on Friday. This shall stop
The speaker probably uses the passive as a way of not giving the name of the person who told him
The speaker uses the passive to sound clever and educated
2) It is supposed to be really good
The speaker isn't certain
The speaker is certain
3) The bridge is being widened
The work is finished
The work is unfinished
4) The Prime Minister is rumoured to be about to resign
The speaker wants to associate themselves with the rumour
The speaker wants to put some distance between themselves and the rumour
5) It might get done
GET is an informal passive construction
GET is a formal passive construction
6) The pills should be taken after meals
The passive is used because it is not known who is going to take the pills
The passive is used as a way of making the instructions less like an order and more polite
7) My wallet was stolen
The passive is used to focus on what is really important to the speaker; their wallet
The passive is used because the speaker does not wish to tell us who stole the wallet
8) Jenny was born in North Yorkshire
We use the passive because we do not know who bore her
We use the passive to focus on Jenny rather than her Mother
9) 'Catch 22' was written by Joseph Heller
The speaker is talking principally about Joseph Heller
The speaker is talking principally about 'Catch 22'
10) It is said to be the best restaurant in the area
This is the speaker's opinion
This is not necessarily the speaker's opinion
11) The government was elected last year
We are more interested in the government than the voters
We are as interested in the government as the voters
12) The painting was sold for a fortune
We are more interested in the buyer
We are more interested in the picture
13) I was born in 1969
It is unnecessary to say who bore the speaker
We don't know who bore the speaker
14) The letters are posted at five o'clock every day
It is important who posts the letters
The time they are posted is important


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