skip to page contentskip to navigation menuWriting for University Courses - Main Rules of Written English
Advice Practice
Main Rules of Written English Menu | Main Menu | Help | Contents List | Definitions | Print Guide

Starter Level menu

Sentences
  What is a sentence?
    Simple and longer sentences
    Common mistakes

Verbs
  Main verbs
    Common mistakes

  Agreement
    Common mistakes

  Present; past; future tenses
    Consistent tenses

  Personal or impersonal
    Active
    Passive
    Third person

Starter Level Checklist


Show Development Level menu



Starter Level Advice

Verbs - Personal or impersonal - Passive

In the passive the focus is on what happened to something, not on who did it.

Examples
The test tube was heated.
In the above, the test tube is the subject of the sentence, and it is not stated who heated it.

If the passive or impersonal/3rd person is required in your work the following would not be appropriate, because there is a mix of passive and active.
*The test tube was warmed on the Bunsen burner. I then emptied the contents...

This is appropriate. It is consistently passive.
The test tube was warmed on the Bunsen burner. The contents were then emptied...

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004