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The Agent in Passive Sentences

We often use the passive when we are interested in the object rather than the “doer” of the action. If we are interested we usually use a phrase beginning with the word by and then the person or thing that does the action – also known as the Agent.

Active sentencePassive sentence
Mr Jones built that boat.That boat was built by Mr Jones.
  • When we do not know, who was the “doer” of the action, we use someone or somebody in the active sentence. We leave out these words in the passive sentence.
Active sentencePassive sentence
Someone stole my car.My car was stolen.
  • We use with when we want to talk about an instrument which is used by an agent to do an action.

        He was stabbed by the criminal with a knife.