Agent and Instrument in the passive voice.

angel heart1

Senior Member

John was killed with a knife by David.

I think the function of "with a knife" is instrument, and the function of "by David" is agent.

Is it correct?

  • johnydynamic

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I believe you are learning english with a text that uses those terms (instrument/agent) but they are not the terms a native speaker of English (at least AE) would use when disecting a sentence.

    However, with regard to your question, you are correct. This presumes that "agent" refers to the do-er of the action, and that "instrument" is the object used to perform the action.

    Johny D.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Those (agent, instrument) are normal descriptors which are commonly used in discussions of grammar and semantics.
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