Impersonal passive

CA65

 

In the impersonal passive, an active voice sentence, which does not contain an accusative object, is converted into the passive voice. This means that the active voice sentence either contains an intransitive verb or a transitive verb that does not take an accusative object.
 

Below are some examples with intransitive verbs:

 

active   passive
Die Kinder helfen den Eltern im Haushalt. Es wird den Eltern im Haushalt geholfen.
          Den Eltern wird im Haushalt geholfen.
          Im Haushalt wird den Eltern geholfen.

 

active   passive
Die Studenten warten seit Stunden auf den Professor. Es wird seit Stunden auf den Professor gewartet.
          Auf den Professor wird seit Stunden gewartet.
          Seit Stunden wird auf den Professor gewartet.

 

active   passive
Das Publikum klatscht. Es wird geklatscht.

 

 

The following changes take place:

 

  The subject of the active voice sentence is not mentioned in the passive voice sentence.*
  The active voice finite verb switches to its passive type (werden + past participle).
  Dative, genitive and prepositional objects of the active voice sentence retain their function in the passive voice sentence.
  Adverbial complements in the active voice sentence retain their function in the passive voice sentence.
  If the active voice sentence has no accusative object, the word "es" becomes the subject of the passive voice sentence. However, if another constituent of the sentence occupies the first position, "es" must be omitted and is not mentioned in the sentence.

 

* The subject of the active voice sentence can be mentioned in the passive voice sentence by using a prepositional phrase introduced by the prepositions von or durch. The indefinite pronoun man is an exception; it cannot be mentioned as an agent in the passive voice sentence when it is the subject of the active voice sentence.

 


 

 

An example of transitive verbs that do not take an accusative object:

 

active   passive
Man tanzt auf Partys bis früh morgens. Es wird auf Partys bis früh morgens getanzt.
          Bis früh morgens wird auf Partys getanzt.
          Auf Partys wird bis früh morgens getanzt.