Wo das Passiv besser ist

Gerade haben Sie gelesen, dass es wichtig ist, aktiv zu schreiben, um Texte lebendiger und direkter zu gestalten und eine unmittelbare Handlung auszulösen. Und jetzt nehmen wir das schon zurück? Nein, der Grundsatz, eher aktiv zu schreiben, ist richtig und wichtig. Allerdings gibt es auch Fälle, in denen das Passiv besser ist, z. B. wenn Sie besonders förmlich klingen oder das Subjekt verschweigen möchten.

“The mistake was made during the development of the project.” This sentence does not say who actually made the mistake. You could argue that it is better to write “I apologise for misunderstanding your question. We would like to offer our help in solving this problem as soon as possible.” In most cases we would agree, but in some instances it might be better to avoid taking any blame.

On the occasions when you really do not know the subject, you would have to use the passive voice, for example: “The document was stolen last night!”. “The document” is the most important word in this sentence, so the passive construction is better than the active one. “Somebody stole the document last night” would put the stress on “somebody”, but in this case it is unimportant who the thief was.

You can change the importance of the object by transforming an active sentence into a passive one:

Active: We are planning the merger for next year.

Passive: The merger is planned for next year.

As we have seen you should consider very carefully whether to use the passive construction instead of the active one. If in doubt, use the active form.

Exercise: Fill in the words and find the key word!

Can you find out the key word for a satisfying day at work?

Answer key

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