Language stories

Sometimes the language is revealing in the ways and possibilities that it gives us to express ourselves.

Passive or Active?

Arkas Passive

Picture:
Τι έχουμε σήμερα;
(What do we have today – … as a lunch-  ?)

Μοσχάρι.
(Veal)

Ετοιμάστηκε;
( Is it already prepared? – …… = is it ready?)

Μπα… Ακόμα με τις πυζάμες το βλέπω…
( I don’t think so … I still see it in his pyzamas)

One of these ways is the Active and Passive voice which for sure can be used without the one excluding  the other. However, there is a huge difference in style and also in what the listener understands. Ex:
Active/ Nikos wrote the exercise.
Passive/ The exercise was written by Nikos.

Language is by its nature something alive. It is a way of communication and communication has a personal element, as it is conducted between people who want to share their news, to transmit something that concerns them (less or more) , something they did  alone or with some others.

That is why, always at the beginning of their sentence they place the “who” (does something = Subject) which is always followed by the “what they do/did …” ( =verb), etc.
This is the characteristic use of Active voice (= somebody does something).

active-vs-passive-voice

On the other side, the Passive voice is the language of the News, of the presenter who wishes to inform us about something and he focuses most often rather on the outcome than on the action. That is why Passive Voice has a more formal style and is used less in everyday communication.
Ex:
Active/ Arsonists burned the forest (this is the way a friend will present a fact to us)
Passive/ The forest was burned by arsonists.  (this is the way news will present a fact to the public)

Of course, the passive voice is also used for something that I do to myself (I act and the result of my action returns to me / No Object).

Now you may understand better the thought behind the question  of speaker A and the answer of speaker B.

Lato – Het Griekse Cultuurcentrum van Amsterdam

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