I am trying to write a software that can identify simple variants of passive voice in an english sentence.

I found multiple resources that state that to be + a past participle is an indication that the sentence is in passive voice.

My question is, is this a reliable rule? Are there any false positives, i.e. are there sentences that contain a construct of to be + past participle that are not in passive voice?

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  • See the linked question for the answer. Yes, there is a reliable way of always detecting the passive voice, and no, it is not as simple as "to be + past participle", you can quite easily construct any number of examples to the contrary. – RegDwigнt Aug 14 '14 at 11:21
  • @RegDwigĐ˝t: Thanks for the pointer. I rephrased the question so that it differs in scope and more matches the actual question title. Do you think it's still a duplicate? – Gregor Müllegger Aug 14 '14 at 11:38
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    Yes, I think I do. As the linked question shows, you need to meet four requirements. So by definition if you meet only one, that is not enough. I am perplexed. You are worried. He is amazed. We are flabbergasted. He was astonished. She is astounded. They were dumbfounded. I am trapped. I am stunned. I am unaffected. I wouldn't be surprised (there, that's another example right there) if there are more false positives than true positives. – RegDwigнt Aug 14 '14 at 12:11
  • Your comment is already quite helpful. I'm not a native english speaker so coming up with those examples is quite hard for me. Thanks for showing me those. – Gregor Müllegger Aug 14 '14 at 12:30