GRAMMAR, PENN.—For years, the passive voice has been berated, insulted, and abused by English teachers across the country. Though it has normally been viewed as a happy, self-confident grammatical structure capable of accepting the attacks, the passive voice has recently been seen crying itself to sleep and wishing it were stronger and more assertive. “I’m just not liked by anyone. In the 1600s, I was admired—it was the active voice who was despised. I was used by peasants, noblemen, and even Shakespeare! But now I am hated, ignored by even the present tense (the obnoxious jerk).” Though psychological assistance has been provided, it is believed the passive voice’s road to recovery will be long and difficult.
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