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Reasons for using the passive

  1. The 'actor' is not known.

  2. Oil was discovered off the coast of Australia.

    The number of Internet users was estimated to be over one million.

  3. The 'actor' is not important.

  4. The report has been published.

    The results will be presented at the conference.

  5. It is considered desirable to conceal the identity of the 'actor'.

  6. The results are invalid as the correct testing procedure was not followed.

    Research funding will be cut next year.

  7. An impersonal tone is needed for academic writing.

  8. In this report, the stress fields in a C-shape plate will be analysed.

    An impersonal tone is also used for process descriptions.

    First, the raw materials are loaded into a container ...

  9. A tactful tone is needed to smooth over an error or difficulty.
  10. Compare these two examples.

    Example of passive voice

    The samples were not checked at the second stage . . .

    Example of active voice

    We forgot to check the samples . . .

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