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Home » Module 1 Unit 5: Passives » Common mistakes - page 7/9
Unit 1: Sentence fragmentsUnit 2: Run-on sentences Unit 3: Subject-verb agreementUnit 4: TensesUnit 5: PassiveUnit 6: ApostrophesUnit 7: Articles

Rewrite the following sentences putting the participant that is not the actor in the subject position. Check your passive version against ours. After each one, take a moment to consider how the change of subject and focus might impact on the reader.

Sometimes when you write a sentence in the passive, you leave the actor out altogether because:

  • the sentence sounds clumsy if you include it


  • it simply isn’t necessary.

Look at this example:

Active: Scientists call the system of classification taxonomy.

Passive: The system of classification is called taxonomy by scientists.

Do we really need to know who calls this system ‘taxonomy’? If we do, it would be better to use the active rather than the passive.