I came across the sentence:

there is more traffic on the road

Could I build up a sentence like this one below

the road has more traffic

being sure that the meaning is still the same?

If yes, could you explain me this in detail?

1 Answer 1


The gross meanings are the same, and both sentences are correct. The first (there is...) is in the passive voice, while the second (the road has...) is active. Which one you should use depends on how you want to sound and what you want to emphasize.

Passively voiced statements - such as most of this answer - tend to be flatter, drier, and raw statements of fact. Active statements are more engaging, and convey the subject's agency. Notice how in the second it sounds more like the road is doing something, rather than simply sitting around and just happening to have greater traffic.

  • I wouldn't agree that the there is... structure is in passive voice.
    – Gerry
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 19:56
  • This is not a passive verb. A passive verb is formed from some form of "be" plus a past participle. Moreover, only transitive verbs can take a passive form. Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 1:00

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