Functions of be-passive

  • Junichi Toyota
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Language History nad Language Change book series (PSLHL)


We have so far seen the morphosyntactic and morphosemantic aspects of the passive voice, and in this chapter, we examine various functions associated with the passive. As we will see shortly, there are two main functions, topicalisation and impersonalisation, but some others have also been proposed. There are, however, some constructions which do not really fit into the typical functional characteristics. They are termed ‘presentative passive’ here and are analysed separately. The main purpose in this chapter is to present basic functions of the passive synchronically so that they become background information for the next chapter, where we discuss the historical changes of various functions and their contribution to the formation of verbal passive in PDE.


Past Participle Intransitive Verb Passive Subject Verbal Passive Actor Phrase 
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Copyright information

© Junichi Toyota 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junichi Toyota
    • 1
  1. 1.Lund UniversitySweden

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