the passive voice

Scealloga1

Member
Polish - Poland
Hi
I have a question concerning the passive voice. I'm doing such a gammar exercise: 'Write the personal or impersonal form of each sentence.' And the sentence is:
It has been reported that they have found the missing documents.
in the key it is written that the answer should be:
The missing documents are reported to have been found.
But can't I write: the missing documents have been reported to have been found.??? What do you think of it?
 
  • RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    It has been reported that they have found the missing documents.

    Not sure about what you are being asked to do here.

    It has been reported--passive voice.

    they have found the missing documents
    --active voice.

    "It has been reported that the missing documents have been found." This sounds normal.
     

    Scealloga1

    Member
    Polish - Poland
    oh ok, I must transform the sentence:It has been reported that they have found the missing documents. into the one starting with: the missing documents........................
    sorry for not being clear enough
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    This is an appalling exercise because it results in unnatural English such as 'The missing documents are reported to have been found'. Do you have to do it?

    There is no problem with the tense however. The present is often used in news reports, as a 'dramatic' or 'narrative' device. I do not know why 'has been' Present Perfect has been used, nor why it needs to be changed to 'is', Present Tense, in the conversion to the passive.
     

    Scealloga1

    Member
    Polish - Poland
    Oh, there's at least one person in the world who understands my pain connected with doing grammar exercises!;) yes, I have to do such exercises. And yes they are created by your fellow native speakers to torment poor ESL learners !:(
     

    Scealloga1

    Member
    Polish - Poland
    but let's get back to the point... Would it be correct if I wrote: "the missing documents have been reported to have been found." ? I'm asking just for the sake of grammar. I know it sounds extremely unnatural.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    This type of passive construction is known as a raised subject construction, and it just so happens that I have another example to hand:

    What construction is was+simple past?

    It's a raising of the object of the second (active) clause to subject of the new sentence.
    "It has been reported that they have found the missing documents."
    "The missing documents are reported to have been found."

    This kind of construction is less wordy, does away with the need for the vague "it" and "they", and it focuses attention on the real subject, hence its frequent use in news stories.

    I don't think "The missing documents have been reported to have been found" would be equally correct. It is certainly less idiomatic.
     
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