First, I would like you to look at these two sentences:

'I used scissors to cut it.'

'I wore glasses to read a book.'

And I am going to form passive sentences from the two.

'Scissors were used to cut it(this makes sense, right?)

'Glasses were worn to read a book'(this.. doesn't make sense to me at all.. I don't know why)

Does the second sentence make sense to you? Why doesn't the second sentence make sense to me?

2 Answers 2


I'm going to assume you are asking why the second sentence doesn't appear to make sense, whereas the first sentence does.

I am going to guess that the first sentence leaves evidence behind - once the object has been cut, it is reasonable to assume it was cut with scissors.

In the case of reading a book, I don't think you would be able to tell whether glasses were used or not, and so the sentence becomes fragile as a statement of reality.

  • After I had posted it, I thought the problem belongs to the subject in the sentence. I found some examples in Oxford's dictionary. 'How can mass media be effectively utilized to propagate and promote a culture of peace?' Feb 3, 2018 at 11:43
  • This sentence shows that the subject of passive sentences can be also the subject of to infinitive. It's the same in the first sentence i have posted. Feb 3, 2018 at 11:53
  • I thunk if the subject of a passive sentence is not the subject of to infinitive, the sentence will sound kind of weird. How do you think about it? Feb 3, 2018 at 11:55
  • For example, the second sentence and a sentence like 'Vegetable is eaten to be healthier.' both sound weird to me. I hope you understand what i am saying Feb 3, 2018 at 11:58
  • its 'Vegetables are eaten to be healthier.', so its your subject/verb agreement in this case
    – JMP
    Feb 3, 2018 at 12:01

Firstly, check whether your meaning remains the same after the transformation into the passive voice.

It is no longer known who performed the action of the verb in either of the new versions. Both need 'by me' added to them to preserve meaning.

One step is missing from your transformation process: the subject from the active voice must become the direct object in the passive voice.

After you create the passive voice, it is sometimes possible to drop the direct object because it can be inferred by context. But always put it in your new version before deciding the best final wording to use.

Does the passive voice sound so awful listeners cannot comprehend it? It often does. That is why politicians use the passive voice so often.

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