PASSIVIZATION

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

PASSIVIZATION.
1. Turning an active sentence or clause into a corresponding PASSIVE sentence or clause: Jane opened the door becoming The door was opened by Jane.

2. The corresponding transformational rule formulated at the earliest period of GENERATIVE GRAMMAR, intended to reflect the relationship of the two sentences and to derive the passive sentence from its basic active sentence. In effect, the rule moved the active object to subject position, moved the active subject into a by-phrase (which can be optionally deleted), and added the auxiliary verb be and (on the following main verb) the passive participle inflection (-ed in regular verbs). Passivization applies when the active sentence contains an object. If the sentence contains two objects (an indirect object followed by a direct object) each object may become the passive subject: the active sentence Natalie showed Derek [IO] the photographs [DO] becoming either Derek was shown the photographs (by Natalie) or The photographs were shown to Derek (by Natalie). Prepositional verbs, such as look at and approve of, often occur in the passive. The noun phrase following the preposition is the prepositional object and can often be made passive subject, the preposition being left ‘stranded’ at the end: All the professors approved of the Provost's action becoming The Provost's action was approved of (by all the professors).