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Passive reporting structures

Meaning and use

This structure is used to report information in a formal style or to report facts.

Passive structures hide the source of the information. This is because a) it is obvious b) the source is unimportant or is 'people in general', or c) the source is unknown.


1) A passive reporting structure can take this form:

It + passive reporting verb + that-clause

For example:

  • It is known that the sky is blue
  • It is known that the criminal escaped
  • It is thought that chocolate is delicious

2) A passive reporting structure can also take this form:

Subject + passive reporting verb + to-infinitive

For example:

  • The sky is known to be blue
  • The criminal is known to have escaped
  • Chocolate is thought to be delicious