I am not sure about correctness of the sentence:

What is the biggest car Joe can buy?

Should there be a comma?

Does it have the same meaning as

What is the biggest car that can be bought by Joe?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

  • The sentence is correct, no need for a comma, and yes.
    – GoHokies
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 10:50

1 Answer 1


"What is the biggest car Joe can buy?" is fine. No comma necessary.

The two phrases you mention do have the same meaning, it's just that the first one is in the active voice, the second one is in the passive voice. Wikipedia probably explains it best.

Some people think the passive voice should be avoided - if I remember correctly, the Microsoft Word spellchecker used to flag it up as a kind of grammatical sin. In your example I certainly think the active version is both clearer to understand and easier to read/say.

Here are examples of active and passive voice (lifted from Wikipedia):

"The servant carries the wine." (active voice)

"The wine is carried by the servant." (passive voice)

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