Misuse of the passive voice when the active voice is needed or the other way around.
In example 1, the active voice is misused when the passive voice is needed. As a result, the subject (i.e. “the small city”) appears to be the agent of the action. However, “locate” requires a human agent (i.e. “I locate”). Therefore “locate” would have to be in the passive voice for this sentence to make sense.
 

 

WRONG
RIGHT

1.

Hong Kong – the small city which located in an autonomous region on the southern coast of China.

Hong Kong – the small city which is located in an autonomous region on the southern coast of China.

 
In example 2, the passive voice is misused when the active voice is needed. “Students” is the agent of the action “learn” and should be coded the subject with the verb in the active voice.
 

 

WRONG
RIGHT

2.

Under this learning method, students are learnt to be obedient and their freedom to create and express themselves is depressed.

Under this learning method, students learn to be obedient and their freedom to create and express themselves is depressed.

See more.

Click here for an exercise in revising passive constructions.

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