Celtic languages have an inflection commonly called the "impersonal" or "autonomous" form,  of similar origin [ citation needed ] to the Latin "passive-impersonal". This is similar to a passive construction in that the agent of the verb is not specified. However its syntax is different from prototypical passives, in that the object of the action remains in the accusative. It is similar to the use of the pronoun "on" in French except wherever "on" is instead used an alternative to "we" , which is very frequent.
It increasingly corresponds to the passive in modern English, in which there is a trend towards avoiding the use of the passive unless it is specifically required to omit the subject. It also appears to be similar to the "fourth person" mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
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However, what is called in Irish an briathar saor or the free verb does not suggest passivity but a kind of generalised agency. The construction has equal validity in transitive and intransitive clauses, and the best translation into English is normally by using the "dummy" subjects "they", "one", or impersonal "you". For example, the common sign against tobacco consumption has its closest direct translation in English as "No smoking":. The difference between the autonomous and a true passive is that while the autonomous focuses on the action and overtly avoids mentioning the actor, there is nonetheless an anonymous agent who may be referred to in the sentence.
In English, the formation of the passive allows the optional inclusion of an agent in a prepositional phrase, "by the man", etc. Where English would leave out the noun phrase, Irish uses the autonomous; where English includes the noun phrase, Irish uses its periphrastic passive — which can also leave out the noun phrase:. The impersonal endings have been re-analysed as a passive voice in Modern Welsh and the agent can be included after the preposition gan by:.
Some linguists draw a distinction between static or stative passive voice and dynamic or eventive passive voice in some languages. Note that for some speakers of English this is not accepted and is considered colloquial or sub-standard. The vara passive is often synonymous with, and sometimes preferable to, simply using the corresponding adjective:. Spanish has two verbs corresponding to English to be: Ser is used to form the ordinary dynamic passive voice:. However, this construction is very unidiomatic.
The usual passive voice is the se pasiva , in which the verb is conjugated in the active voice, but preceded by the se particle:. Estar is used to form what might be termed a static passive voice not regarded as a passive voice in traditional Spanish grammar:. In the ser and estar cases, the verb's participle is used as the complement as is sometimes the case in English. Italian uses two verbs essere and venire to translate the static and the dynamic passive:. Dynamic passive auxiliary verb: Static forms represents much more a property or general condition, whereas the dynamic form is a real passive action entailing "by someone":.
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Passive voice and English passive voice. Deponent verb , Reflexive verb , Mediopassive voice , and Unaccusative verb.
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