Some sentences can have an active and a passive voice. The difference depends on the communicative intention of the speaker.
We use a passive sentence when we want to highlight who or what is directly affected by the action carried out by the subject (here called Agent) and expressed by the verb.
Sometimes, the Agent is even omitted, to stress once more the real focus of the sentence, e.g. the direct object, that is now the Subject of the sentence.
An active sentence usually follows the typical structure of a basic Italian sentence.
Active form: Subject + Verb + Direct object
|Maria mangia la mela.||Maria eats an apple,|
|Il cane insegue il gatto.||The dog chases the cat.|
|Paolo ha preparato un panino.||Paolo made a sandwich.|
Passive forms are used to stress that an action directly affects the object.
Sometimes the Agent is omitted, or not needed at all.
Passive form: Direct object + Verb + [Preposition Da + Subject/Agent]
|La mela è mangiata [da Maria].||The apple is eaten by Maria.|
|La città è stata distrutta [dall'incendio].||The city was destroyed by the fire.|
|Il lavoro deve essere finito entro domani [x].||This task must be finished before tomorrow.|
Note that sentences with direct objects only can have a passive form.
Another way of forming the passive voice is by using Si, the so-called Si passivante.
This type of passive is used when the subject is not determined.
Passive with Si: Si + Verb + Rest of the sentence
|Si aprì una porta.||A door (was) opened.|
|Si sentì un forte rumore.||A big noise was heard.|
|Si decise di non fare nulla.||It was decided not to do anything.|
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