Where to use the “bèi” sentence
In English, the active voice is stylistically desirable because it emphasizes the agent of the action and livens up your prose. Therefore, the active voice is used more in imaginative writing while the passive voice is used more in scientific articles or news reports.
However, in Chinese, there are many occasions when the use of passive voice is warranted. The passive voice is used if the receiver of the action is the focal point or if the agent of the action is irrelevant or unknown.
Huìyì bèi tuīchí le yì tiān.
会议 被 推迟 了 一 天。
The meeting is postponed for one day.
Gāosù gōnglù bèi guānbì le.
高速 公路 被 关闭 了。
The highway is closed.
In these sentences, the speaker may not be interested in the agent of the action, or the information about the agent may be unrecoverable.
Notice that there is a slight difference between the “bèi 被” sentence and English passive voice when the information about the agent is omitted.
Tā jiā bèi（rén）dào le.
他 家 被 （人） 盗 了。
His home was burglarized (by someone).
In the above English sentences, the entire by-phrase is omitted. In Chinese, the agent is left out, but the passive voice marker “bèi 被” (by) is still kept for clarity. In some cases, the entire by-phrase is also omitted in Chinese.
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