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A discussion of passive verb forms and the passive voice attempts to explain the nature of passives and to offer composition teachers some reference points for teaching them. Twelve arguments are proposed to explain resistance to the teaching of passives; each is termed a continuum in order to help assess understandings and attitudes. The 12 contexts in which passives are considered are those of: protocol (acceptance or popularity); verb transitivity; asymmetry or morphological forms; features used to compose the structures in discourse texts; quantification; a content continuum for the semantics field; contextual compatibility; style and markedness; the filtering of information by composition teachers; whether or not voice is context-free; transfer or non-transfer from other languages, in the case of instruction in English as a Second Language; and topicalization versus focalization. (Contains 40 references.) (MSE)

Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, English (Second Language), Grammar, Language Patterns, Linguistic Theory, Second Language Instruction, Teacher Attitudes, Verbs, Writing (Composition), Writing Instruction

Autor: Caflisch, Jacob, Sr.


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