Report Text and Passive Voice

by Diah Nurhayati

The social function is to describe the way things are, with reference to arrange or natural, man-made or social phenomena in our environment.
to inform the reader or listener about something such as nature, animals, plants, man-made, and other social phenomena in our environment as the way it is.
*The information states in the report text is obtained by the result of an observation and analysis.

Information reports usually contain:
1. a general introduction that often includes a definition
2. a series of statements that provide us with facts about subject
3. a summary of the information given
The generic structure of report text are:
1. General classification
2. Description (parts, qualities, habits or behavior  *if living*, uses *if non-natural*)
Language features:
1.Focus on generic participants
2. Use of simple present
3. Use technical terms (example: herd, mountains, block-fault mountains, etc.)
4. Use  “being (to be)” and “action” verb
5. Use of passive voice

Example 1
The Amazing Animal
Elephants1 are the largest land animal on earth. They have the largest brains of any mammal.
Generic structure:
General Classification
Elephants talk to each other. Researchers have discovered more than 50 different types of calls that they use to communicate with each other. Their trunks7 are6 strong enough to pick up trees but sensitive enough to a flower. They use sticks as tools to sweep8 paths, to scratch8 themselves, to swat flies, and to draw in the dirt.

Elephants are good swimmers and use their trunks like snorkels7. They live together in family groups. They help each other when in trouble. They join together to care for and rescue their young.
Source: English student book grade IX

Example 2
Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving1 or Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of harvest2, thankfulness for peace, and the attempt of Native Americans. It is usually celebrated in late autumn. 

In the past, Thanksgiving was celebrated3 for their rich harvest in New England. In North America, however, it was originally held to thank God for their survival in the new land which was not easy for them. However, in Canada, it had been celebrated4 as in New England. Thanksgiving now is celebrated5 in United States of America and in Canada. Thanksgiving festivals are held5 every fourth Thursday of November in the U.S and on the second Monday of October in Canada. It is usually celebrated in four to five days in the North America and for three days in Canada.

It is celebrated through families and friends gathering to eat and give good luck. Turkey is the main dish in the thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving parades are also usually held. In Thanksgiving homes are decorated5 with wreaths, fresh and dried flowers. Lamps are lighted to brighten the environment. Tables are decorated with best china and antique silver dishes to mark the occasion.
Source :

1 : generic participant
2 : present tense
3 : passive voice (with past tense)
4 : passive voice (with past perfect)
5 : passive voice (with simple present)
6 : to be
7 : technical term
8 : action verb

Passive voice
Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action.
When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:
  • the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence
  • the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)
  • the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped.

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