I was reading an article saying
The following general minimum safety requirements shall apply:
I thought the sentence should be
The following general minimum safety requirements shall be applied:
because the meaning is passive to me.
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They have the same basic meaning. Changing the subject of the sentence changes the emphasis a tiny amount.
“Requirements” can apply, meaning they can exist and be relevant to the situation.
This version emphasizes the existence of the requirement.
Requirements apply to this form.
In these sentences, we don’t know who created the requirement, we only know that they do exist. They may have always existed.
Newton’s laws of gravity and motionapply to all objects.
Requirements are applied to this form.
Requirements shall be applied to this form.
In this case, the passive voice tells us that someone or something is “creating the requirement and attaching it to this situation.”
The passive voice has a implied subject:
Requirements are applied (by the government.)
The government applies a requirement.
The government requires...
This can’t be used with something that has always existed:
Newton’s laws of gravity and motionare applied to all physical objects.
This doesn’t make sense in most situations.