The following sample sentences using passive voice are from my school’s first year English text book. I could probably turn this into one of those 3000 word ranty posts, but I have a workshop to prepare for. And I also have to think up some new sample sentences. Anyway, here is the list of passive voice sentences (with some comments, asked for or not):
1. The car was made last year.
(My translation into commonly used English: This is last year’s model)
2. This dictionary is used by high school students.
(My translation of what the textbook writer was actually saying in Japanese: Most high school students use this dictionary.)
3. The cake was given to me this morning.
(I guess this could be said by someone, at some time, but only if there was some kind of pressing mystery about that damn cake)
4. English is spoken in many countries.
(Not gonna complain about this one. As far as I know, it certainly is. But without context, it sounds oddly boastful and makes me a little uncomfortable. But I’m sensitive that way.)
5. Tom was invited to the party yesterday.
(Would need something else to be acceptable to me. Maybe: Tom was just invited to the party yesterday. Or: Tom couldn’t come because he was invited to the party yesterday. Anyway, hope Tom had a good time doing whatever kept him from the party. I mean, that’s what’s implied right? Or is it? Now I’m confused.)
6. Was the book written by him?
(Not even gonna comment on this)
7. This hotel was opened a year ago.
(I have a useless ‘was’ for sale, cheap, as long as you come and take it out of this sentence yourself)
8. (in conversation form)
A: The dog doesn’t look happy.
B: No food was given to him.
(Poor dog. Wonder why they just don’t say: He hasn’t eaten in days. Someone call the SPCA!)
9. Is the book read by many people?
(Once again a poor translation from Japanese where passive is used to express that something is quite common or typical or popular. Why the sentence, “Everyone and their grandmother is reading this book this summer,” isn’t highlighted more in Japanese English text books is way beyond me.)
10. (in conversation form)
A: Does everybody know her?
B: Yes, she is loved by everyone.
(First off, I want to meet her and judge for myself. Secondly, does B’s comment actually work with what A said without an ‘and’ in there? And finally, if you’re gonna put something in dialogue form, shouldn’t it resemble spoken English? I can tell you one thing for sure, if she had anything to do with writing these sample sentences, she is certainly not loved by me. But maybe after we sit down and talk things over, I’ll decide she’s pretty cool after all).