+0
hi,can anybody explain how does passie voice works here"i'm given water"shouldn't it be water is given to me,im so confused with this ,how do a know more or less how it works,or is it just like saying "the picture is painted"just that it sounds weird to me when i say ,water is given to me,can anybody help me with a good explanation

thanks ,daniel
1 2
Comments  
The rule of thumb:

Someone GIVES something
but...
Something IS GIVEN TO someone

If you say "I'm given", it feels as if there were something missing. You are given what? The usage of passive voice is widely criticized in formal and literary settings, but accepted in technical writing where "impersonal" information is prefered. Compare:

When we connect a load to a transmission line, this will experience an insertion loss.
to...
When a transmission line is loaded, an insertion loss is experienced.

You may read the first sentence in a book "about" telecommunications, but the second one in a book "on" telecommunications. Personal nouns are usually omitted in technical writing and the passive voice (i.e. impersonal) is preferred.

Passive voice can be used to cause certain effect or to show a mood. Compare:

I was given water at the end of the day, only after the doctor's authorization.

Water was given to me so hastily, that I was about to reject it.

In both cases, it doesn't mater who gave me water. I'm talking aboout the moment I went through.

Hope this helps! Emotion: smile
That's an interesteing and good point Raul. I would like to add that when I teach passive to my ESL students in Australia I explain it by saying:

USE:
We use the passive when the SUBJECT (the person or thing that does the action) is either not known or not as important as the OBJECT.
Why passive? If we don't know who, or it's not important who, (or, for politicians sometimes they don't want us to know who!!:-o) we would probably use the passive:

An example in the past simple:

ACTIVE: Somebody stole my wallet yesterday.
PASSIVE: My wallet was stolen yesterday.

FORM:
BE (in whatever form e.g. past simple, present perfect) + PAST PARTICIPLE
e.g. was stolen (PAST SIMPLE)
has been stolen (PRESENT PERFECT)
had been stolen (PAST PERFECT)

Cheers
heatherbiene
www.freewebs.com/correctwebenglish
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
thanks for your replies ,well i can manage more o r less that kind of sentences such as my wallet has been stolen ,i mean i understand the meaning ,the problem is that i tend to confuse when somebody says ,for example,i'm stolen my wallet....i dont know if it is correct but i have heard ppl saying that,can someone correct me there??

thanks
In my thinking the sentence "I am stolen my wallet..." is not a completed sentence (I would say it is a broken sentence). I am stolen , my wallet...
That person wanted to express his wallet was stolen by someone.
Correctme if I am wrong!!!
It sounds incorrect to my ears. "I am stolen" means present. You should say "I was stolen my wallet" or "I've just been stolen my wallet". As a matter of fact, it's much more common to hear "My wallet was stolen!" or a plain "I was robbed!".

Hope this helps! Emotion: smile
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
It seems to me that the sentece " I was stolen my wallet" is grammatically impossible, because there is no corresponding active sentence which is grammatically correct. In my understanding, a passive sentence is grammatically acceptable only if you can reconstruct a grammatically well-formed active sentence from the passive. For example, "I was given a book" can be transformed into "(somebody) gave me a book, which is correct English. On the other hand, if you try to transform "I was stolen my wallet" into an active sentence, you will end up with "(somebody) stole me my wallet, which is not standard English. In the case of "I was robbed! (of my wallet)", you can transform it into "(somebody) robbed me of my wallet", which is acceptable.
Hello, Daniel Emotion: smile

There is an explanation for the existence of sentences like "I'm given water" which is, by the way, grammatically correct.

As has been explained here, the first you need in order for a sentence in the passive voice to be possible is a transitive verb and its direct object. You may have sentences like:
"Someone has stolen my wallet."
"My wallet has been stolen."
"steal" is a transitive verb, and its object (in the first sentence) is "my wallet". In the second sentence (passive voice) the object of the first sentence has become subject, and "someone" is not necessary because it does not add any useful information. If it did, or if it were relevant for any orher reasons, it would appear in the predicate of the sentence introduced by the preposition "by", and the construction would be the "agent", as in "My wallet has been stolen by someone."

"Stesl" is, among transitive verbs, called "monotransitive" because it takes only one object: the direct object. Two other types of transitive verbs exist in English: "ditransitive" and "complex transitive". A ditransitive verb is one that takes two objects: direct and indirect. A complex transitive verb is one that takes a direct object and an object complement. You may think this is superfluous information, but it is important for what comes next.

You asked about a different case which sounded awkward to you: "I was given water". This will sound strange, for example, to Spanish speakers because we do not have a smilar cnstruction in spanish; yet, it is possible and correct in English. However, not every sentence that contains a transitive verb will accept this type of conversion to the passive. In order for a sentence such as "I was give water" to be possible, you need a "ditransitive" verb, that is, a verb that has both a direct and an indirect object.
In active sentences such as "He gave water to me", in which you have two objects (water: direct object; to me: indirect object), more than one passive form is possible. You know that the direct object "water" can become subject of the passive sentence:
"Water was given to me."
What is perhaps 'new' here is that the indirect object may as well become the subject of the passive sentence:
"I was given water".
Since both passive forms are possible and correct, you have a choice which will depend on the situation in which the sentence is used. What is more important to you in the sentence? "I", as opposed to anyone else, or "water", as opposed to milk, coffee or wine? The second example, however, seems to be more common. Other verbs that admit this type of transformation into the passive are show, ask, teach, pay, tell, deny, grant, hand, offer, throw, just to mention a few.

Here are some examples:

Active: "John asked Steve a question." (Steve: IO; a question: DO)
Passive 1: "A question was asked of Steve."
Passive2: "Steve was asked a question."

Active: "You are telling me lies." (me: IO; lies: DO)
Passive 1: "Lies are being told to me." (not commonly used, really)
Passive 2: "I'm being told lies."

Active: "The company will offer Mr. Jones a position as accountant." (Mr Jones: IO; a position as accountant: DO)
Passive 1: "A position as accountant will be offered to Mr Jones."
Passive 2: "Mr Jones will be offered a position as accountant."

There are other instances of sentences in the passive voice which are different from the most commonly taught type "Water was given to me":

There are sentences such as "They say that the price of oil will rise" in which 'they' has no specific referent; it refers to many people, yet to no one in particular. "Say" is used monotransitively in the sentence, so one would think that the only possible passive construction would be:
"That the price of oil will rise is said."
This sentence, although grammatically correct, is seldom, if ever, used in English. Another possibility, and by far the most common, is:
"It is said that the price of oil will rise."

There is yet more to passive voice, but I hope this helps.

Miriam
That was an excellent and engrossing explanation by Miriam. When reading introductory grammar books, one often gets the sense that many important things are being left out for the sake of simplicity. I find this very frustrating. So it's fantastic when someone goes to the trouble of addressing a topic thoroughly and without shying away from providing important surrounding information such as definitions of relevant terminology. Both teachers and students, when reading a post like this, can learn something new or have existing knowledge reinforced.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more