Meaning of passive voice.
211. In the assertion of an
action, it would be natural to suppose, that, instead of always representing
the subject as acting upon some person or thing, it must often happen that the
subject is spoken of as acted upon; and the person or thing acting may
or may not be expressed in the sentence: for example,—
All infractions of love and equity in our social
relations are speedily punished. They are punished by fear.—Emerson.
Here the subject infractions does nothing: it
represents the object toward which the action of are punished is
directed, yet it is the subject of the same verb. In the first sentence the
agent is not expressed; in the second, fear is the agent of the same
So that in this case, instead of having the agent and
subject the same word, we have the object and subject the same
word, and the agent may be omitted from the statement of the action.
Passive is from the Latin word patior,
meaning to endure or suffer; but in ordinary grammatical use
passive means receiving an action.
212. The passive voice is
that form of the verb which represents the subject as being acted upon;
The passive voice is that form of the verb which
represents the subject and the object by the same word.