Monday, June 30, 2014

The unusual use of the Passive Voice in Luis Suarez's statement.

This is Luis Suarez's apology. The key phrase is:

"..,the truth is that my colleague (sic) Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me."

The technical term for this type of phrasing is the Passive Voice. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed. The subject (Chiellini) "suffered...a bite". Had Suarez used the Active Voice he would have said something like "I bit Chiellini". 

Obviously even the use of the Passive Vpice is an admission of responsibility because if Chiellini was bitten, and Suarez says he was, there is only one person who could have done it!

The Passive Voice is often used in apologies. So we hear "I'm sorry if anyone was offended"  rather than the Active "I'm sorry if I offended anyone". It's a sort of watered down apology. The use here is rather bizarre - maybe it happened in the translation. The "I deeply regret what occurred" is also a bit less powerful in that it regrets the incident rather regretting that he caused it. 

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