Impersonal passive structures

We have just done some practise on this type of sentences we find mostly in the written language when reporting in newspapers and magazines.

They are used when we report information we are not totally sure about and therefore we put some distance between the statement and us.

For example,

It is believed that Spanish investements in South America are now at risk

Spanish investements in South America are believed to be now at risk

By choosing those structures we are expressing an element of doubt. If we were totally confident  we would have said

Spanish investements in South America are at risk

We can also report with  the verbs Appear and Seem with the same distancing effect. However we don’t use the passive voice with seem and appear.

It seems that the number of unemployed is slowly decreasing.

Here are some examples taken from recent newspapers

It is alleged that some footballers pretended to be injured…

Guardiola is believed to be looking for an English Premier League position

It is rumoured that David Beckham loves fast food

They are useful sentences to use in your essays when discussing data and statistics.

For another explanation plus some exercises click here

Now it is your turn to practise


The proof is in the pudding, I mean, video. Watch this

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