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FRENCH GRAMMAR


 
 

LA VOIX PASSIVE / PASSIVE VOICE

  1. English equivalent:I was looked at strangely.

  2. Construction:a tense of être+ past participle (which agrees in gender and number with the subject): Ils ont été écrasés par une voiture.(They were crushed by acar.) Note:The agent is usually introduced by "par,”asabove.

  3. Use:

    1. To show that a subject has or had an action per formed on it by another agent, used only with transitive verbs (verbs that take a direct object)

    2. The passive voice is only used when there is an unexpressed agent that is not a person: La maison a été détruite. (The house was defrayed, i.e., by afire, a flood, etc.) otherwise, French avoids usingthe passive voice in the following ways:

      1. By making the expressed agent the active subject and the passive subject the direct object: Une voiture les a écrasés.(A car crushed them.)

      2. By using "on" as an active subject when theunexpressed agent is a person: On m'a regarde bizarrement. Not: J'ai été regardé bizarrement.(Iwas looked at strangely.)

      3. By making the passive subject the active subjectof a reflexive verb in general statements: Ça se fait tous les jours. Not: Cela est fait tous les jours.(Thatis done everyday.)