A letter was written....

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  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    "Wrote a letter" is not a complete sentence. If you don't know who wrote the letter, you would have to say "Someone wrote a letter."
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The problem with passive is that often (as here) the "who did it" part is missing. Your sentence does not say A letter was written by the police. If it did say that, then you could convert to active by saying The police wrote a letter.

    But without that information, unless you "invent" a subject, a conversion to active is not possible.
     

    Fictional

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    If we're going to put someone before wrote a letter, then why isn't the original sentence written like, "A letter was written by someone"?
     
    Last edited:

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    You could say "A letter was written by someone," but in most contexts it would be redundant. If a letter was written, we can pretty much take it for granted that it was written by a person ("someone"). Nonetheless, "by someone" can be included for emphasis or in order to continue the sentence: "A letter was written by someone who appeared to be familiar with the details of the crime."
     
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