A resource which introduces students to reasons for choosing to use the active or passive in a text: to put new information to the end of a sentence and to avoid mentioning who performed an action.
The short text used as an example is on urban planning. Further examples are from the field of economics.
An extract from the resource:
Known versus new
In written English, information which is already known to the reader usually goes at the front of a sentence while new information is usually put at the end. This can be achieved using the passive and active voice.
For example the second sentence of the first paragraph reads:
These were built on by Ahmed (2001) and French (2002).
Ahmed (2001) and French (2002) built on these.
The studies by Ahmed and by French are new information for the reader, so the passive is used to put this information at the end of the sentence.
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