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Voice (grammar)

Voice (grammar)

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In grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

, the voice (also called diathesis) of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state) that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its argument
Verb argument
In linguistics, a verb argument is a phrase that appears in a syntactic relationship with the verb in a clause. In English, for example, the two most important arguments are the subject and the direct object....

s (subject, object, etc.). When the subject
Subject (grammar)
The subject is one of the two main constituents of a clause, according to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle and that is associated with phrase structure grammars; the other constituent is the predicate. According to another tradition, i.e...

 is the agent or doer of the action, the verb is in the active voice. When the subject is the patient, target or undergoer of the action, it is said to be in the passive voice.

For example, in the sentence:
The cat ate the mouse.


the verb "ate" is in the active voice, but in the sentence:
The mouse was eaten by the cat.


the verbal phrase "was eaten" is passive.

In
The hunter killed the bear.


the verb "killed" is in the active voice, and the doer of the action is the "hunter". To make this passive:
The bear was killed by the hunter.


the verbal phrase "was killed" is followed by the word "by" and then by the doer "hunter".

In a transformation
Transformational grammar
In linguistics, a transformational grammar or transformational-generative grammar is a generative grammar, especially of a natural language, that has been developed in the Chomskyan tradition of phrase structure grammars...

 from an active-voice clause
Clause
In grammar, a clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition. In some languages it may be a pair or group of words that consists of a subject and a predicate, although in other languages in certain clauses the subject may not appear explicitly as a noun phrase,...

 to an equivalent passive-voice construction, the subject and the direct object
Object (grammar)
An object in grammar is part of a sentence, and often part of the predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. Basically, it is what or whom the verb is acting upon...

 switch grammatical roles. The direct object gets promoted to subject, and the subject demoted to an (optional) complement
Complement (linguistics)
In grammar the term complement is used with different meanings. The primary meaning is a word, phrase or clause that is necessary in a sentence to complete its meaning. We find complements that function as an argument and complements that exist within arguments.Both complements and modifiers add...

. In the examples above, the mouse serves as the direct object in the active-voice version, but becomes the subject in the passive version. The subject of the active-voice version, the cat, becomes part of a prepositional phrase in the passive version of the sentence, and could be left out entirely.

Active



The active voice is the most commonly used in many languages and represents the "normal" case, in which the subject of the verb is the agent.

Passive


The passive voice is employed in a clause whose subject
Subject (grammar)
The subject is one of the two main constituents of a clause, according to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle and that is associated with phrase structure grammars; the other constituent is the predicate. According to another tradition, i.e...

 expresses the theme
Theta role
In generative grammar , a theta role or θ-role is the formal device for representing syntactic argument structure required syntactically by a particular verb. For example, the verb put requires three arguments...

 or patient
Patient (grammar)
In linguistics, a grammatical patient, also called the target or undergoer, is the participant of a situation upon whom an action is carried out. A patient as differentiated from a theme must undergo a change in state. A theme is denoted by a stative verb, where a patient is denoted by a dynamic...

 of the verb. That is, it undergoes an action or has its state changed.

The Spanish language
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 use a periphrastic
Periphrasis
In linguistics, periphrasis is a device by which a grammatical category or grammatical relationship is expressed by a free morpheme , instead of being shown by inflection or derivation...

passive voice; that is, it is not a single word form, but rather a construction making use of other word forms. Specifically, it is made up of a form of the auxiliary verb
Auxiliary verb
In linguistics, an auxiliary verb is a verb that gives further semantic or syntactic information about a main or full verb. In English, the extra meaning provided by an auxiliary verb alters the basic meaning of the main verb to make it have one or more of the following functions: passive voice,...

 to be and a past participle
Participle
In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

 of the main verb. In other languages, such as Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, the passive voice is simply marked on the verb by inflection
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

: librum legit "He reads the book"; liber legitur "The book is read".

Middle


Some languages (such as Bangla, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

, Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

 and Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

) have a middle voice. This is a set of inflections or constructions which is to some extent different from both the active and passive voices. The middle voice is said to be in the middle between the active and the passive voices because the subject often cannot be categorized as either agent or patient but may have elements of both. For example it may express what would be an intransitive verb
Intransitive verb
In grammar, an intransitive verb is a verb that has no object. This differs from a transitive verb, which takes one or more objects. Both classes of verb are related to the concept of the transitivity of a verb....

 in English. For example, in The casserole cooked in the oven, cooked is syntactically
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 active but semantically
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

 passive. In Classical Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, the middle voice often has a reflexive sense: the subject acts on or for itself, such as "The boy washes himself", or "The boy washes". It can be transitive or intransitive. It can occasionally be used in a causative sense, such as "The father causes his son to be set free", or "The father ransoms his son".

Many deponent verb
Deponent verb
In linguistics, a deponent verb is a verb that is active in meaning but takes its form from a different voice, most commonly the middle or passive. A deponent verb doesn't have active forms; it can be said to have deposited them .-Greek:...

s in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 are survivals of the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 middle voice; many of these in turn have survived as obligatory pseudo-reflexive verb
Reflexive verb
In grammar, a reflexive verb is a verb whose semantic agent and patient are the same. For example, the English verb to perjure is reflexive, since one can only perjure oneself...

s (i.e., verbs that have a reflexive construction, but are not translated into English using a reflexive) in the Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 such as French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

.

Others


Some languages have even more grammatical voices. For example, Classic Mongolian
Classical Mongolian language
Classical Mongolian is an extinct Mongolic language formerly used in Mongolia, China, and Russia. It is a standardized written language used in a number of written texts such as the translation of the Kanjur and Tanjur and several cronicles roughly between 1700 and 1900...

 features five voices: active, passive, causative, reciprocal, and cooperative.

The antipassive voice
Antipassive voice
The antipassive voice is a verb voice that works on transitive verbs by deleting the object. This construction is similar to the passive voice, in that it decreases the verb's valency by one - the passive by deleting the subject , the antipassive by deleting the object The antipassive voice...

 deletes or demotes the object of transitive verbs, and promotes the actor to an intransitive subject. This voice is very common among ergative–absolutive languages (which may feature passive voices as well), but rare among nominative–accusative languages.

There are also constructions in some languages that appear to change the valence
Valency (linguistics)
In linguistics, verb valency or valence refers to the number of arguments controlled by a verbal predicate. It is related, though not identical, to verb transitivity, which counts only object arguments of the verbal predicate...

 of a verb, but in fact do not. So called hierarchical or inversion
Inversion (linguistics)
In linguistics, grammatical inversion is any of a number of different distinct grammatical constructions in the languages of the world. There are three main uses in the literature which, unfortunately, have little if any overlap either formally or typologically: syntactic inversion, thematic...

 languages are of this sort. Their agreement system will be sensitive to an external person or animacy hierarchy (or a combination of both): 1 > 2 > 3 or Anim > Inan and so forth. E.g., in Meskwaki
Meskwaki
The Meskwaki are a Native American people often known to outsiders as the Fox tribe. They have often been closely linked to the Sauk people. In their own language, the Meskwaki call themselves Meshkwahkihaki, which means "the Red-Earths." Historically their homelands were in the Great Lakes region...

 (an Algonquian language), verbs inflect for both subject and object, but agreement markers do not have inherent values for these. Rather, a third marker, the direct or inverse marker, indicates the proper interpretation: ne-wa:pam-e:-w-a [1-look.at-DIR-3-3Sg] "I am looking at him", but ne-wa:pam-ekw-w-a [1-look.at-INV-3-3Sg] "He is looking at me". Some scholars (notably Rhodes) have analyzed this as a kind of obligatory passivization dependent on animacy, while others have claimed it is not a voice at all, but rather see inversion as another type of alignment, parallel to nominative–accusative, ergative–absolutive, split-S, and fluid-S alignments.

Passive in topic-prominent languages



Topic-prominent language
Topic-prominent language
A topic-prominent language is a language that organizes its syntax to emphasize the topic–comment structure of the sentence. The term is best known in American linguistics from Charles N...

s like Mandarin tend not to employ the passive voice as frequently. Mandarin-speakers construct the passive voice by using the coverb 被 (bèi) and rearranging the usual word order. For example, this sentence using active voice:

Note: the first line is in Traditional Chinese while the second is Simplified Chinese.
咬了 這個 男人。
咬了 这个 男人。
Gǒu yǎo-le zhège nánrén.
dog bite-PERFECT this man
"A dog bit this man."


corresponds to the following sentence using passive voice. Note that the agent phrase is optional.
這個 男人 (狗) 咬了。
这个 男人 (狗) 咬了。
Zhège nánrén bèi (gǒu) yǎo-le.
This man BEI dog bite-PERFECT.
"This man was bitten (by a dog)."


In addition, through the addition of the auxiliary verb "to be" (shì) the passive voice is frequently used to emphasise the identity of the actor. This example places emphasis on the dog, presumably as opposed to some other animal:
這個 男人 咬了。
这个 男人 咬了。
Zhège nánrén shì bèi gǒu yǎo-le.
This man to be BEI dog bite-PERFECT.
"This man was bitten by a dog."


Although a topic-prominent language, Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 employs the passive voice quite frequently, and has two types of passive voice, one that corresponds to that in English and an indirect passive not found in English. This indirect passive is used when something undesirable happens to the speaker.
泥棒 財布 盗まれた。
Kare wa dorobō ni saifu o nusumareta.
He TOPIC thief AGENT wallet OBJECT steal-PASSIVE-PAST
"His wallet was stolen by a thief."

彼女 つかれた。
Boku wa kanojo ni uso o tsukareta.
I TOPIC her AGENT lie OBJECT tell-PASSIVE-PAST.
"I was lied to by her." (or "She lied to me.")

Fourth person in Finnic languages



Some languages do not contrast voices, but have other interesting constructions similar to this. For example, Finnic languages
Finnic languages
The term Finnic languages often means the Baltic-Finnic languages, an undisputed branch of the Uralic languages. However, it is also commonly used to mean the Finno-Permic languages, a hypothetical intermediate branch that includes Baltic Finnic, or the more disputed Finno-Volgaic languages....

 such as Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 and Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

 have a "passive", expressed by conjugating
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

 the verb in a never-mentioned "common person". Although it is generally referred to as the passive ("passiivi") in Finnish grammars, it may more appropriately be referred to as the fourth-person form of a verb.

The function of the fourth person is simply to leave out the agent. The grammatical role of the object remains unaltered, and thus transitivity
Transitive verb
In syntax, a transitive verb is a verb that requires both a direct subject and one or more objects. The term is used to contrast intransitive verbs, which do not have objects.-Examples:Some examples of sentences with transitive verbs:...

 may also be used. For example, the fourth-person construction Ikkuna hajotettiin, with a transitive verb, means "Someone broke the window", while the third-person construction Ikkuna hajosi uses the anticausative
Anticausative verb
An anticausative verb is an intransitive verb that shows an event affecting its subject, while giving no semantic or syntactic indication of the cause of the event. The single argument of the anticausative verb is a patient, that is, an experiencer...

 and means "The window broke".

Impersonal in Celtic languages


Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 possess an inflection commonly called the "impersonal", of similar origin to the Latin "passive-impersonal". This is similar to a passive construction in that it is not necessary to specify the agent. However as its syntax is different from prototypical passives, in that the patient of the action remains in the accusative, and its semantics are simply that of "giding the subject", i.e. focusing on the action of the verb.

It is similar to the use of the pronoun "on" in French. It increasingly corresponds to the passive in modern English, in which there is a trend towards avoiding the use of the passive unless it is specifically required to omit the subject. It also appears to be similar to the "fourth person" mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

The construction has equal validity in transitive and intransitive clauses, and the best translation into English is normally by using the "dummy" subjects "they", "one", or impersonal "you". For example, the common sign against tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 consumption has its closest direct translation in English as "No smoking":
caitear tabac
Don't use-impersonal tobacco.


An example of its use as an intransitive is:
Téithear go dtí an sráidbhaile go minic Dé Sathairn
Go-impersonal to the village often Saturday

"People often go to the village of a Saturday."

The difference between the impersonal and a true passive is that to the speaker, the impersonal focuses on the action and overtly avoids mentioning the actor, whereas the passive indicates the demotion of an agent. In English, the formation of the passive allows the optional inclusion of an agent in a prepositional phrase, "by the man", etc. Where English would leave out the noun phrase, Irish uses the impersonal, where English includes the noun phrase, Irish uses its periphrastic passive - which can also leave out the noun phrase:
The tobacco was smoked (by the man)
Bhí an tabac caite (ag an bhfear)
Was the tobacco consumed (by the man)


The impersonal endings have been reanalysed as a passive voice in Modern Welsh and the agent can be included after the preposition gan (by):
Cenir y gân gan y côr.
The song is sung by the choir.

Dynamic and static passive


Some languages draw a distinction between static (or stative) passive voice, and dynamic (or eventive) passive voice. Examples include English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

. "Static" means that an action was done to the subject at a certain point in time resulting in a state in the time focussed upon, whereas "dynamic" means that an action takes place.

German



Static passive auxiliary verb: sein

Dynamic passive auxiliary verb: werden

Der Rasen ist gemäht ("The lawn is mown", static)

Der Rasen wird gemäht ("The lawn is being mown", literally "The lawn becomes mown", dynamic)

English



Static passive auxiliary verb: be (the "be-passive")

Dynamic passive auxiliary verb: get (the "get-passive")

Note that for some speakers of English this is not accepted and is considered colloquial or sub-standard.

The grass is cut (static)

The grass gets cut (dynamic)

Swedish



Static passive auxiliary verb: vara (är, var, varit)

Dynamic passive auxiliary verb: bli (blir, blev, blivit)
Dynamic passive in Swedish is also frequently expressed with the s-ending.
Dörren är öppnad. "The door has been opened."
Dörren blir öppnad. "The door is being opened."


The vara passive is often synonymous with, and sometimes preferable to, simply using the corresponding adjective:
Dörren är öppen. "The door is open."


The bli passive is often synonymous with, and sometimes preferable to, the s-passive:
Dörren öppnas. "The door is opening."

Spanish



Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 has two verbs corresponding to English to be: ser and estar. Ser is used to form the ordinary (dynamic) passive voice:
La puerta es abierta. "The door is [being] opened [by someone]."
La puerta es cerrada. "The door is [being] closed [by someone]."


(Note that this construction is very unidiomatic in this case. The usual phrasing would be La puerta se cierra.)
Estar is used to form what might be termed a static passive voice (not regarded as a passive voice in traditional Spanish grammar
Spanish grammar
Spanish grammar is the grammar of the Spanish language , which is a Romance language that originated in north central Spain and is spoken today throughout Spain, some twenty countries in the Americas, and Equatorial Guinea....

):
La puerta está abierta. "The door is open," i.e. it has been opened.
La puerta está cerrada. "The door is closed," i.e. it has been closed.


In both cases, the verb's participle is used as the complement (as is sometimes the case in English).

Italian



Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 uses two verbs (essere and venire) to translate the static and the dynamic passive:

Dynamic passive auxiliary verb: essere and venire (to be and to come)
La porta è aperta. or La porta viene aperta. "The door is opened [by someone]" or "The door comes open [by someone]".
La porta è chiusa. or La porta viene chiusa. "The door is closed [by someone]" or "The door comes closed [by someone]".


Static passive auxiliary verb: essere (to be)
La porta è aperta. "The door is open," i.e. it has been opened.
La porta è chiusa. "The door is closed," i.e. it has been closed.

Venetian



In Venetian
Venetian language
Venetian or Venetan is a Romance language spoken as a native language by over two million people, mostly in the Veneto region of Italy, where of five million inhabitants almost all can understand it. It is sometimes spoken and often well understood outside Veneto, in Trentino, Friuli, Venezia...

 (Vèneto) the difference between dynamic (true) passive and stative (adjectival) passive is more clear cut, using èser (to be) only for the static passives and vegner (to become, to come) only for the dynamic passive:
Ła porta ła vien verta. "The door is opened", dynamic
Ła porta ła xè / l'è verta. "The door is open", static


Static forms represents much more a property or general condition, whereas the dynamic form is a real passive action entailing "by someone":
èser proteto. "To be protected = to be in a safe condition", static
vegner proteto. "To be protected = to be defended (by so)", dynamic

èser considarà. "To be considered = to have a (good) reputation", static
vegner considarà. "To be taken into consideration (by people, by so)", dynamic

èser raprexentà (a l'ONU). "To be represented (at the UN) = to have a representation", static
vegner raprexentà a l'ONU (da un dełegà). "To be represented at the UN (by a delegate)", dynamic

List


Voices found in various languages include:
  • Active voice
    Active voice
    Active voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. It is the unmarked voice for clauses featuring a transitive verb in nominative–accusative languages, including English and most other Indo-European languages....

  • Adjutative voice
    Adjutative voice
    The adjutative voice is a grammatical voice carrying the meaning "to help to". The subject of a verb in the adjutative voice is not an agent of the action denoted by the verb, but assists the agent in performing the action....

  • Antipassive voice
    Antipassive voice
    The antipassive voice is a verb voice that works on transitive verbs by deleting the object. This construction is similar to the passive voice, in that it decreases the verb's valency by one - the passive by deleting the subject , the antipassive by deleting the object The antipassive voice...

  • Applicative voice
    Applicative voice
    The applicative voice is a grammatical voice which promotes an oblique argument of a verb to the object argument, and indicates the oblique role within the meaning of the verb. When the applicative voice is applied to a verb, its valency may be increased by one...

  • Causative voice
    Causative
    In linguistics, a causative is a form that indicates that a subject causes someone or something else to do or be something, or causes a change in state of a non-volitional event....

  • Circumstantial voice
    Circumstantial voice
    In grammar, a circumstantial voice, or circumstantial passive voice, is a voice that promotes an oblique argument of a verb to the role of subject; the underlying subject may then be expressed as an oblique argument. A given language may have several circumstantial voices, each promoting a...

  • Impersonal passive voice
    Impersonal passive voice
    The impersonal passive voice is a verb voice that decreases the valency of an intransitive verb to zero.The impersonal passive deletes the subject of an intransitive verb.  In place of the verb's subject, the construction instead may include a syntactic placeholder, also called a dummy.  This...

  • Mediopassive voice
    Mediopassive voice
    The mediopassive voice is a grammatical voice which subsumes the meanings of both the middle voice and the passive voice.Languages of the Indo-European family typically have two or three voices of the three: active, middle, and passive. "Mediopassive" may be used to describe a category that covers...

  • Middle voice
  • Passive voice
    Passive voice
    Passive voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. Passive is used in a clause whose subject expresses the theme or patient of the main verb. That is, the subject undergoes an action or has its state changed. A sentence whose theme is marked as grammatical subject is...

  • Pseudo-passive
    Pseudo-passive
    Pseudo-passive is a grammatical category that describes the relationship between the action and the participants identified by its argument to their thematic relations. It is common in spoken English...

  • Reciprocal voice
    Reciprocal (grammar)
    A reciprocal is a linguistic structure that marks a particular kind of relationship between two noun phrases. In a reciprocal construction, each of the participants occupies both the role of agent and patient with respect to each other...

     (subject and object perform the verbal action to each other, e. g. She and I cut each other)
  • Reflexive voice
    Reflexive verb
    In grammar, a reflexive verb is a verb whose semantic agent and patient are the same. For example, the English verb to perjure is reflexive, since one can only perjure oneself...

     (the subject and the object of the verb are the same, as in I cut myself)

See also

  • Anticausative verb
    Anticausative verb
    An anticausative verb is an intransitive verb that shows an event affecting its subject, while giving no semantic or syntactic indication of the cause of the event. The single argument of the anticausative verb is a patient, that is, an experiencer...

  • Dative shift
    Dative shift
    Dative shifting is a grammatical process by which an oblique argument of a verb, usually one functioning as a recipient or a benefactive , is placed in the same grammatical role as a patient, increasing the valency of the verb and forming a clause with two objects...

  • Deponent verb
    Deponent verb
    In linguistics, a deponent verb is a verb that is active in meaning but takes its form from a different voice, most commonly the middle or passive. A deponent verb doesn't have active forms; it can be said to have deposited them .-Greek:...

  • Description
    Description
    Description is one of four rhetorical modes , along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and conventions....

  • Diathesis alternation
    Diathesis alternation
    In linguistics the term diathesis alternation or verb alternation refers to the fact that verbs can be used in different subcategorization frames where they slightly change their semantic meaning. It is a hard problem for theoretical linguistics how to encode constraints on the diathesis...

  • English passive voice
    English passive voice
    The passive voice is a grammatical construction in which the subject of a sentence or clause denotes the recipient of the action rather than the performer...

  • E-Prime
    E-Prime
    E-Prime is a version of the English language that excludes all forms of the verb to be. E-Prime does not allow conjugations of to be , archaic forms E-Prime (short for English-Prime, sometimes denoted E′) is a version of the English language that excludes all forms of the verb to be. E-Prime does...

  • Grammatical conjugation
    Grammatical conjugation
    In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

  • Morphosyntactic alignment
    Morphosyntactic alignment
    In linguistics, morphosyntactic alignment is the system used to distinguish between the arguments of transitive verbs and those of intransitive verbs...

  • Valency (linguistics)
    Valency (linguistics)
    In linguistics, verb valency or valence refers to the number of arguments controlled by a verbal predicate. It is related, though not identical, to verb transitivity, which counts only object arguments of the verbal predicate...