Let us suppose I am talking to a thief who steals cars daily. I ask him

Yo!, at what time do you steal cars?

To which he replies

Cars are stolen at 1 am.

Now I think that the sentence is valid grammatically but I am not sure if he used it 'right'. By 'right' I mean right with respect to the question. Also I suspect it has something to do with 'Active/Passive Voice'.

  • 2
    The only odd thing I found in this conversation is that a thief usually doesn't reveal his plans and sabotage his livelihood (haha), besides which, it looks fine.
    – Varun Nair
    Jul 13, 2016 at 8:13
  • Lunch is served at noon. Doors are locked at midnight. The semantically odd (but not ungrammatical) thing here is that the perpetrator is using the passive, which leaves him out of the picture. Thievery was done. Jul 13, 2016 at 11:34

2 Answers 2


It is grammatically correct. Events that happen regularly use the simple present "I play tennis every day"

The thief is using the passive voice, which leaves out the actor: He means "Someone" steals cars at 1am.

The register and tone is quite formal. The passive voice disengages the speaker from the action. This is inappropriate to a car thief, who would more likely reply in a reduced form: "1am" (or perhaps more likely "You better f*** off before asking questions like that gets you knifed!")


The thief does not need to bother about Active/Passive voice in this context. He could have replied.

  • Around 1am.
  • I steal cars around 1am.
  • Cars are stolen around 1am.

I hope that particular thief does not steal cars exactly at 1am. 'around 1am' is much suited here.

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