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Passiv - Alternativformen

learning target

Aim of this section is to find out which passive voice substitutes exist.



Man verkauft das Haus.
Das Haus verkauft sich leicht.
Das Haus lässt sich leicht verkaufen.
Das Haus ist leicht zu verkaufen.

The house is being sold.
The house can be sold easily.
The house can be sold easily.
The house can be sold easily.


What do you need passive voice substitutes for?

The "real" passive voice sounds formal and is found, therefor, mostly in written German.
In German as well as in English, we prefer the active voice.

In German exist a number of verb constructions (=passive voice substitutes)
which are active voice but allow to omit the agent as you do it in "real" passive voice sentences.

The man construction

The man construction is very often used in German.
You can translate "man" with one/you/they (in general) or a passive voice sentence.
"Man" (third person singular) acts as the subject of the sentence.


further examples:

The reflexive verb construction

A lot of verbs which are usually not reflexive are used reflexively as a passive voice substitute.


The "sich lassen + Infinitiv" construction

The best translation for the "sich lassen + Invinitiv construction" is: can be (done, made, ... etc.).


The "sein + zu + Infinitiv" construction

The "sein + zu + Invinitiv construction" can mean: can be (done, made, ... etc.) or must be (done, made, ... etc.)


There are a few more constructions which work as a passive voice substitute
but I don't want to make it too complicate and stop here.



Passiv - Alternativformen 1


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summary - documents for your folder

Passiv - Alternativformen (theory, 2 pages)