If the passive voice of the sentence

Police caught the thief.


The thief was caught.

what is the passive voice of the sentence below?

The doctor cured the patient.

Possible answers:

  1. The patient was cured.
  2. The patient was cured by the doctor.
  • If the sentence - " Police caught the thief." 's Passive voice is -" The thief was caught." - "The thief was caught by the police" is also correct, depending on whether you want to include this detail or not. I'd even say it's more correct, as it does not omit information. Feb 26 '18 at 16:46
  • The main reason the passive is used in the first place is to omit the agent and put emphasis on the action, which is why you'll often find the agent (introduced with the preposition by) missing from the sentence. But, make no mistake about it, it's always grammatical to include it (except when explicitly told otherwise; e.g., on an English exam).
    – user3395
    Feb 26 '18 at 17:00
  • I'm caught, thought the fly, as it struggled to free itself from the web. Feb 26 '18 at 21:07

No. A verb in the passive voice does not need to identify the agent explicitly.

The man was murdered does not tell us who murdered the man, perhaps because the murderer is not known.

My wallet was brought to Lost and Found does not tell me who did it, perhaps because my wallet having been returned is important rather than who returned it.

However, the sentence

The patient was cured does not give the same information as

Doctor Smith cured the patient.

To give the same information as the latter sentence in the passive voice, you need

The patient was cured by Doctor Smith.

In short, when using the passive, you need not include the agent, but you always may do so.

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