Sunday, January 29, 2017

The passive voice - La forma passiva

Passive voice is used in case the doer, the subject isn't known or you don't want to mention it. Transitive verbs can be either active voice or passive voice. A verb is considered transitive if it has a subject or an object that receive the action. ("I read a book.") Meanwhile intransitive verbs have no receiver of the action. (Eg. "They are here." )

L'edificio è stato costruito. - The building was built.

The agent is very often not mentioned. When it is mentioned it is replaced by da placed at the end of the clause.
Active: Maria paga i conti. Maria payed the bills.
Passive:  I conti sono pagati da Maria. The bills were paid by Maria.


The passive of an active tense is formed by putting the verb "essere" into the same tense as the active verb and adding the past participle of the active verb.

The above sentence in past tense:
Active:  Maria ha pagato i conti. 
Passive: I conti sono stati pagati da Maria.
Note that "essere" can be substituted by "venire", but only in simple tenses.
I conti vengono pagati da Maria.

Auxiliary  (potere, dovere) and infinitive combination are made passive using a passive infinitive.

Uno straniero non può leggere un libro così difficile.
Un libro così difficile non può essere letto da uno straniero.
Le tasse devono essere ammentate. 

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