VOICE. Professor Flavia Cunha 2013/2. What is voice ?. Voice is a grammatical category which makes possible to view the action of a sentence in two ways, without changing the facts reported. Examples:. The butler murdered the detective. The detective was murdered by the butler.
Professor Flavia Cunha
Voice is a grammatical category which makes possible to view the action of a sentence in two ways, without changing the facts reported.
The butler murdered the detective.
The detective was murdered by the butler.
Sentence (a) is in the active voice, and (b) is in the passive voice.
In addition to intransitive verbs, which are never used in the passive, some transitive verbs do not occur in the passive.
* Twenty slices of bread are contained by the packet.
* Five dollars is cost by the parking fine.
* Maria is resembled by her father.
* He is suited by the jacket.
* A car is had by him.
* John was born in the late fifties.
* John was said to be a good teacher.
Co-reference between subject and nominal objects blocks the passive transformation, and occurs with (a) reflexive, (b) reciprocal, and (c) possessive pronouns in the object.
* Himself could be seen in the mirror.
* Each other could hardly be seen in the fog.
The passive usually does not affect the meaning of a sentence, but it does affect the way you think about the information in a sentence because it changes the usual order of the subject and object of an active sentence.
Still a change of meaning may accompany a change of voice in verb phrases containing auxiliaries that have more than one meaning, e.g. shall, will and can.