ACTIVE/PASSIVE PARAPHRASES IN ENGLISH AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR TEACHING

.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS WISHING TO IMPROVE THEIR COMMAND OF PASSIVE VERBS MAY FIND IT MORE USEFUL TO READ THE POST 27. How to Avoid Passive Verbs

 .

ABSTRACT

The passive form of English verbs is said to have two different uses: either concealing what would be the subject if the verb were in the active voice, or changing its position. Yet frequently both effects are achievable with the active of another verb. This paper provides evidence for such a possibility, discusses its implications for explaining the passive to English language learners, and illustrates resultant language learning materials.  The ease with which actives can paraphrase passives is inferred through a classification of such actives, and later through a small empirical investigation involving native speakers filling text gaps with suitable verbs, whose voice alternations were then analysed. The central question raised by the active/passive paraphrase possibility is whether there are any differences at all between the paraphrases. It is suggested that passives without by do not so much conceal information as signal its concealment; while by passives are linked to lexical verb choice. Various reasons for making a particular lexical verb choice are proposed, including restricted lexical knowledge, maintaining a sequence of passives, or conforming to register demands.  An incidental problem, that of suitably describing for learners the semantic role of active verb subjects, is addressed by replacing generalizations like “agent” with mention of individual verbs’ “typical subjects”. Exercises with the new perspective link lexical decision-making with grammatical practice. The article itself is a fairly long Word file. It can be read or downloaded by clicking here: PASSART8.DOC

2 thoughts on “ACTIVE/PASSIVE PARAPHRASES IN ENGLISH AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR TEACHING

  1. I’m a english-learner from China,I find your blog from google,and I read some of your posts and just wanna to say thank you!Your posts help me a lot!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s