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Notes on the passive

Why were passive verbs used in the 'Language in context' accounting report?

  1. The Executive Summary is part of an academic report. The passive voice is used to give the report a formal, impersonal tone, avoiding personal pronouns.

  2. Instead of 'I argue that...', the student writes: It is argued that...
    It is further argued that...
    It is recommended that...
  3. It may be difficult to determine precisely who is doing / should do something.

  4. In this case, for example, there may be a general expectation that accountants should actively facilitate decision-making, hence the student writes, 'accountants are expected to...'
  5. The student emphasises what should happen. Who should do it may be beyond his / her purpose in this report, or may be considered less important.

'The report suggests...' is an active verb form in which the report becomes the subject to avoid writing 'I suggest...'

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