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Recognising passives

The following passage is from a report written by an accounting student.

The passive verbs are highlighted.

Click on the highlighted text for an explanation of the passive voice in use.

Language in context passage

Executive summary

The purpose of this report is to assess the impact of globalisation on management accounting and to outline changes which need to be implemented as a response to globalisation. The report suggests that management accounting needs to focus on a range of information apart from the financial, to make more informed decisions.

It is argued that, in the past, management accounting involved supplying figures to organisations. However, in the global marketplace, management accountants are expected to actively facilitate decision-making and to assist in the management of transnational corporations. It is further argued that traditional management accounting techniques are no longer relevant. Rather, concentration needs to be given to providing additional benefits to organisations such as timely, quality and focused information which can initiate effective management action.

With rapid market changes, constant cost control and quality improvement, as well as meeting customers' needs, are essential requirements of a management accountant's portfolio. For this to occur, it is recommended that all accountants familiarise themselves with these changes and the subsequent effects on management accounting. Furthermore, consideration should also be given to how these changes could be most efficiently implemented in accounting workplaces.

(Adapted from: P.V.Cotesta, G.M.Crosling and H.M. Murphy, Writing for Accounting Students, 1998, Butterworths, Australia. p. 26.)

The passive voice is used here because it is unimportant to mention or because it is not known yet who might implement the changes.

Note the passive form be implemented after the modal verb 'need to', which has the meaning should.

The passive voice is used in the phrase 'It is argued' to avoid using the informal personal pronoun 'I'. Reports typically adopt a formal impersonal tone.

Note that the form of the verb 'to be' always agrees in number and person with its subject, unless preceded by a modal.

The passive voice is used here to emphasise which people are expected to perform rather than who expects them to perform.

Note that the form of the verb 'to be' always agrees in number and person with its subject, unless preceded by a modal.

The passive voice is used in the phrase 'It is further argued' to avoid using the informal personal pronoun 'I'. Reports typically adopt a formal impersonal tone.

Note that the form of the verb 'to be' always agrees in number and person with its subject, unless preceded by a modal.

The passive voice is used here to emphasise what needs to happen rather than who should do it.

Note the passive form be given after the modal verb 'need to', which has the meaning should.

The passive voice is used in the phrase 'It is recommended' to avoid using the informal personal pronoun 'I'. Reports typically adopt a formal impersonal tone.

Note that the form of the verb 'to be' always agrees in number and person with its subject, unless preceded by a modal.

The passive voice is used here to emphasise what should happen rather than who should do it.

Note the passive form be given after the modal should.

Also note the insertion of the qualifying word 'also' before the passive verb form.

The passive voice is used here to emphasise what could be done and how it could be done rather than who might do it.

Note the passive form ' be most efficiently implemented' after the modal verb 'could'.

Also note the insertion of the qualifying words 'most efficiently' between the two parts of the passive verb form.

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