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First of all, I would like to express my sincere and special gratitude to Mrs.
Pham Thi Bich Ngoc, my supervisor, who has generously given me invaluable
assistance and guidance during the preparation of this graduation paper. The
success of my paper would be almost impossible without her tireless support.
Secondly, I would be grateful to Mrs. Dang Thi Van, my second supervisor, for
her precious advice and encouragement.
Furthermore, I own a particular debt of gratitude to Mrs. Tran Ngoc Lien, Dean
of Foreign Language Department of Hai Phong Private University for her
supportive lectures and references.
In addition, my thanks also go to other teachers of Hai Phong Private University
for their great contribution as well as their lecture.

table_of_contents

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1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATIONS
Page
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………….. 1
1. Rationale ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
2. Aims of the study ……………………………………………………………………………….. 1
3. Method of the study ……………………………………………………………………………. 2
4. Scope of the study ………………………………………………………………………………. 2
5. Design of the study …………………………………………………………………………….. 3
PART TWO: DEVELOPMENT ……………………………………………………………….. 4
CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND ………………………………………. 4
I.1. Sentence …………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
I.2. Passive and active voice compared ………………………………………………………. 6
I.3. Tense, Aspect and Mood ……………………………………………………………………. 8
I.3.1. Tense …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
I.3.2. Aspect ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
I.3.3. Mood …………………………………………………………………………………………… 11
I.4. Semantic differences between active and passive voice ………………………. 12
I.5. Kinds of the Verb …………………………………………………………………………….. 13
I.5.1. Dynamic and Stative Verb …………………………………………………….. 13
I.5.2. Intensitive and Extensive Verb ………………………………………………. 15
2
I.5.2.1. Transitive and Intransitive Verb ………………………………… 15
I.5.2.2. Monotransitive, Ditransitive and Complex Transitive Verb 16
I.5.2.3. Copulative Verb ………………………………………………………. 17
CHAPTER II: PASSIVE VOIVE AND PASSIVE CONSTRUCTION ……….. 18
II.1. The way to change active into passive ………………………………………………. 18
II.2. Forms of the passive ……………………………………………………………………….. 18
II.2.1. The affirmative form …………………………………………………………… 18
II.2.2. The negative form ………………………………………………………………. 19
II.2.3. The interrogative form ………………………………………………………… 20
II.3 The use of the passive ………………………………………………………………………. 20
II.3.1. The topic ……………………………………………………………………………. 20
II.3.2. New information ………………………………………………………………… 20
II.3.3. Passive sentence without an agent ………………………………………… 21
II.3.4. Typical contexts for the passive ……………………………………………. 21
II.4. Some special forms with passive meaning …………………………………………. 22
II.4.1. Modal verb in the passive ……………………………………………………. 22
II.4.2. The passive with get ……………………………………………………………. 23
II.4.3. The passive with verbs of reporting ………………………………………. 23
II.4.4. The passive with verbs of giving ………………………………………….. 26
II.4.5. The passive with have and get ……………………………………………… 27
II.4.6. Prepositions with passive verbs ……………………………………………. 28
II.4.7. Pseudo – passive …………………………………………………………………. 29
II.5. Voice restrictions ……………………………………………………………………………. 30
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CHAPTER III: THE PASSIVE VOICE IN ENGLISH THROUGH
CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS WITH VIETNAMESE ………………………………. 31
III.1. Frequency of usage ………………………………………………………………………… 31
III.2. Some comments on the Vietnamese language …………………………………… 31
III.3. Passive construction through contrastive analysis with Vietnamese …….. 32
III.3.1. The similarities ………………………………………………………………….. 32
III.3.2. The differences ………………………………………………………………….. 33
CHAPTER IV: SOME MISTAKES PROBABLY MADE BY VIETNAMESE
LEARNERS IN LEARNING PASSIVE VOICE AND SUGGESTED WAYS
OF OVERCOMING THESE MISTAKES ……………………………………………….. 35
IV.1. Some mistakes probably made by Vietnamese learners in learning passive
voice ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 35
IV.1.1. In translation …………………………………………………………………….. 35
IV.1.2. In changing the active sentence into the passive one ……………… 36
IV.2. Suggested ways of overcoming these mistakes …………………………………. 37
PART THREE: CONCLUSION ……………………………………………………………… 38
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………………………… 39
4
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First of all, I would like to express my sincere and special gratitude to Mrs.
Pham Thi Bich Ngoc, my supervisor, who has generously given me invaluable
assistance and guidance during the preparation of this graduation paper. The
success of my paper would be almost impossible without her tireless support.
Secondly, I would be grateful to Mrs. Dang Thi Van, my second supervisor, for
her precious advice and encouragement.
Furthermore, I own a particular debt of gratitude to Mrs. Tran Ngoc Lien, Dean
of Foreign Language Department of Hai Phong Private University for her
supportive lectures and references.
In addition, my thanks also go to other teachers of Hai Phong Private University
for their great contribution as well as their lecture.
Last but not least, I would like to express my deepest thanks to my family and
all my friends who have helped and encouraged me a lot and supplied me with
material for the fulfillment of my graduation paper.
Hải Phòng, May 2009
Vũ Thị Ngọc Mai
5
SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATION
S
O
V
Vintens
Vmonotrans
Vcomplex trans
Vditrans
Vintrans
Oi
Od
Aplace
Cs
Co
Vact
Vpass
Egg
Subject
Object
Verb
Intensive verb
Monotransitive verb
Complex transitive verb
Ditransitive verb
Intransitive verb
Indirect object
Direct object
Place of adverb
Subject complement
Object complement
Active verb
Passive verb
Example
Square bracket [ ] round the number indicates the number of the reference books
listed in the references. When there are two numbers in the square bracket
separated by a semicolon, egg: [1986:243], the former number indicates the year
that the book was published, the later indicates the page.
The symbol / (oblique stroke) is used to separate alternative words, phrase or
term.
6
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
With the development of human being, a means of communication should be
set to connect people closer. English has become an international
communication. The fact that the English language is widely spoken all
around the world draws the attention of many linguists, to become fluent in
which the language now is one of the essential demands of most English
learners. However, it is not easy to achieve this because the language can
sometimes cause them a lot of trouble with its grammar, structures,
vocabularies, and pronunciation, etc. I think that English grammar is of great
importance and difficulty and that one does not know much of it, he can not
use English to communicate easily.
Realizing and thinking highly of the importance of English grammar, I
decided to pick it out for the study of my graduation paper. However, due to
the limitation of time and knowledge, I will just spend time concentrating on
the study of an issue of English grammar called “The passive voice”.
I hope that it will become useful for those who study English Grammar in
general and the passive voice in particular.
2. Aims of the study
The study “A study on passive voice in English and in Vietnamese” attempts
to:
1. Introduce passive voice and the way to change active into passive.
2. Give the list of their usage.
3. Present and classify some special forms of the passive voice in
English.
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4. Find out the similarities and differences in structure, function and
meaning of the passive voice in English and its Vietnamese
equivalent.
5. Anticipate some problems that may lead to difficulties likely to be
expressed by Vietnamese learners and confusion made by
Vietnamese learners in studying English and reading their course
books.
6. Suggest some sorts exercises with the hope to prevent the errors
and overcome the consequence of interference.
3. Methods of the study
The main purpose of this study is to find out the passive voice in English and
in Vietnamese. The result of this study will help to make language learning
and teaching more effective. To realize this, the writer has used the collecting
and analyzing methods in this study.
Firstly, collecting method is used to find out all the passive voice from a
variety of books and valuable resources such as internet, graduation papers,
etc.
Secondly, examples are used to illustrate given information which are
extracted from a variety of textbooks and resources.
In addition, comparison is indispensable method to point out similarities and
differences of passive voice in English and in Vietnamese.
4. Scope of the study
Due to limitation of time, I can not cover all the points relating to the passive
voice in English and in Vietnamese. Therefore, I decide to raise these
following questions to discuss:
1. What is the form of passive voice? How does active change into
passive voice?
2. How can the passive voice be used?
3. How many special kinds of passive voice?
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4. What are the errors made by learners when using passive voice?
And how are these errors eliminated?
The first question is concerned with the form of the passive voice and the
way to change active into passive voice.
The second question is concerned with the use of passive voice.
The third question is concerned with the some special forms with passive
meaning.
The last question is concerned with the way to use passive voice correctly.
5. Design of the study
My study is divided into three main parts:
Part one is the introduction, which gives the reason for choosing the topic of
this study, pointing out aims of conducting the study, making out the
methods applied, limiting the study and giving out the design of the study as
well.
Part two refers to the main content that consists of three chapters:
Chapter I discusses the theoretical preliminaries in which attention is paid
to the comparison between passive and active voice, the relation between
transitivity and voice, tense, aspect and mood, semantic differences between
active and passive voice and kinds of verb.
Chapter II is the main part of the study. It describes the way to change
active into passive, the forms and the use of the passive. Some special forms
and voice restrictions are also presented.
Chapter III, the passive voice in English through contrastive analysis with
Vietnamese, consists of some problems such as: frequency of usage, some
remarks on Vietnamese, the differences and the similarities between two
languages.
Chapter IV, some mistakes made by Vietnamese learners and suggested
ways of overcoming these mistakes.
Part three offers the overview of the study and gives conclusion.
9
PART TWO: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
I.1. Sentence
I.1.1. Definition
To deal with the notion of sentence, there are many grammarians giving their
own ideas.
“A sentence is a complete unit of meaning. When we speak, our sentences may
be extremely involved or even unfinished, yet we can still convey our meaning
through intonation, gesture, facial expression, etc. When we write, these devices
are not available, so sentences have to be careful structured and punctured. A
written sentence must begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop (.), a
question mark (?) or an exclamation mark (!).
[Alexander,1988:2]
According to Modern English, sentence consists of two immediate constituents:
subject and predicate.
[Rayevska, 1976:172]
In linguistic, a sentence is an expression in natural language – a grammatical and
lexical unit consisting of one or more words, representing distinct and
differentiated concepts, and combined to form a meaningful statement, question,
request, command, etc.
[]
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Personally, the researcher is in favor of Rayevska’s definition about sentence
because it seems to refer to her study in passive voice in English and explain
why she introduces sentence.
11
I.1.2. Classification of sentence
According to syntactic, sentence can be divided into four major classes:
STATEMENTS are sentences in which the subject: is always present and
generally precedes the verb:
Egg: John will speak to the boss today.
QUESTIONS are sentences marked by one or more of these three criteria:
The placing of the operator immediately in front of the subject:
Egg: Will John speak to the boss today?
The initial positioning of an interrogative or wh-element:
Egg: Who will you speak to?
Rising intonation:
Egg: You will speak to the boss?
COMMANDS are sentences which normally have no overt grammatical
subject, and whose verb is in the imperative:
Egg: Speak to the boss today.
EXCLAMATIONS are sentences which have an initial phrase introduced
by what or how, without inversion of subject or operator:
Egg: What a noise they are making!
[Quirk,1985:190]
According to elements, we can usefully distinguish seven clause types:
(1) SVA S Vintens Palace
Mary is in the house
(2) SVC S Vintens Cs
Mary is kind
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(3)SVO S Vmonotrans Od
Somebody caught the ball
(4) SVOA S Vcomplex trans Od Aplace
I put the plate on the table
(5) SVOC S Vcomplex trans Od Co
We have proved him a fool
(6) SVOO S Vditrans Oi Od
She gives me expensive presents
(7) SV S Vintrans
The child laughed
[Quirk,1985:166]
I.2. Passive and active voice compared
Rayevska, L.M. et al [1976:118] suggested that: “ languages differ greatly in
their idiosyncrasies, it means, in the form which they have adopted, in the
peculiarities of their usage’s in the combinative power of words and idiomatic
forms of grammar peculiar to that language and not generally found in other
languages”. From this point of view the category of voice presents a special
linguistic interest. As a grammatical category, voice is the form of verb which
shows the relation between the action and its subject indicating whether the
action is performed by the subject or passes on to it. Thus, there are two voices
in English: the active and the passive. The active and the passive relation
involve two grammatical “levels”: the verb phrase and the clause.
In comparison between active and passive voice clauses, according to Jacobs
Roderick A. [1995:160], there are three major differences of interest to us.
The first is in the form of the verb. The verb in the active voice clause is its
ordinary past tense form whereas in the passive voice clause the verb unit is a
sequence of a form of the copular verb “be” plus the past participle form. In the
13
passive clause, the verb includes within itself the information that there is an
agent. Prepositional phrases are useful containers for the agent because they are
most always optional constituents.
The second difference is the possibility of omitting the agent argument when it
occurs in a prepositional phrase.
The third way in which passive clauses differ from active clauses is the order of
the constituents. In the passive clause the theme noun phrase comes before the
verb when it is the subject, but in active clause the theme comes after its verb
since it is the object.
The marked passive form is said to derive from the active by means of a
transformation
These changes can be presented as follows:
Active: I wrote a letter.
Passive: A letter was written by me.
Transformational relations for voice may be symbolized as follows:
N1 + Vact + N2 N2 + Vpass + by + N1
The choice of the passive construction is often because of the fact that the agent
is unknown or the speaker prefers not to speak of him. The verb must be
transitive and be followed by a grammatical object for passive voice to be used.
This means that if you do not know the actor (who did it) or the agent (who
caused it) of the process represented by the verb phrase of the predicator, or
wish to avoid saying who or what it was, you can do so by using a passive
clause. Many passives occur in texts without the prepositional phrase with “by”.
The similarity between passive and active voice is thought to be semantic one
the sentences are paraphrases in as much as it would.
[Rayevska, 1976:119]
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I.3. Tense, Aspect and Mood
I.3.1. Tense
Time is universal, non linguistic concept with three divisions: past, present and
future. By tense we understand the correspondence between the form of the verb
and our concept of time.
[Quirk, 1985:39]
In modern English, as well as in many other languages, verbal forms imply not
only subtle shade object of time distinction but serve for other purposes, too.
They are also often marked for person and number, for mood, voice and aspect.
[Rayevska, 1976:99]
Uses of tense:
– At the most basic level, past tense marks situations as distanced either in
time or reality from the speaker or writer, while present tense (the absence
of past tense) indicates the absence of such distancing.
– The difference between the present and past tense forms of the questions
is not one of the time distance but of the social distance. The past tense
indicates greater social distance, making the question seem less
confrontational.
[Jacobs, 1995:192-193]
We generally distinguish finite and non-finite forms of the verb:
– The grammatical nature of the finite forms may be characterized by the
following six with reference to:
Person I read : : He reads
Number She reads : : They read
She was : : They were
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time relations I write : : I wrote
mood If he knows it now : : If he knew it
now.
the aspect character of the verb She was dancing for half an hour
: : She danced
voice distinction We invited him : : He was invited I
asked : : I was asked.
The non-finites are: the infinitives, the gerunds and the participles. The
following, for instance, is non-finites of the regular verb: to paint
Non-progressive
infinitive
Active
Passive
Active perfect
Passive perfect
to paint
to be painted
to have painted

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