The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar (2 ed.) by Bas Aarts defines "active" as follows:
active (adj.) Of a verb, clause, construction, etc.: designating an exponent of the grammatical category of voice whereby the grammatical subject is the agent of the action denoted by the verb. Contrasted with passive.
(n.) A construction (verb phrase, clause, sentence) in which the referent of the grammatical subject typically carries out the action expressed by the verb (i.e. is its agent). Contrasted with passive.
The term is sometimes applied to the verb itself such that the verbs in the following examples are said to be in the active voice:
The bird caught the worm
The sun rises in the east
Many verbs, e.g. intransitive verbs, can occur only in the active.
- active verb: (in older usage) the same as action verb.
According to the italicized clause following "whereby", the dictionary seems to presuppose two things: (1) the verb in the "active construction" denotes an "action"; and (2) the grammatical subject of the "active construction" is the agent of the action.
But in "investors love the stock" — the active construction of the passive "the stock is loved by investors" — (1) the verb "love" does not denote an action; and (2) the grammatical subject "investors" is not the agent of an action.
If these presuppositions are incorrect, is it on the dictionary or on the term "active"? That is, did the dictionary drop the ball by making the incorrect presuppositions? Or is the term "active" itself wrongly used in the first place (among grammarians and linguists) such that it forces the incorrect presuppositions?