Voice
A. Active Voice
1. Simple Active
2. Causative (Ergative) Active
3. Stative Active
4. Reflexive Active
B. Middle Voice
1. Direct (Reflexive) Middle
2. Indirect Middle
3. Causative Middle
4. Permissive Middle
5. Deponent Middle
C. Passive Voice
1. Simple Passive
2. Deponent Passive


Voice is the property of the verb that indicates how the subject is related to the action (or state) expressed by the verb. In general, the voice of the verb may indicate that the subject is doing the action (active), receiving the action (passive), or both doing and receiving (at least the results of) the action (middle).

A. Active Voice

In general it can be said that in the active voice the subject performs, produces, or experiences the action or exists in the state expressed by the verb.

1. Simple Active

2. Causative (Ergative) Active [cause]

3. Stative Active

4. Reflexive Active

B. Middle Voice

Defining the function of the middle voice is not an easy task because it encompasses a large and amorphous group of nuances. But in general, in the middle voice the subject performs or experiences the action expressed by the verb in such a way that emphasizes the subject's participation. It may be said that the subject acts with a vested interest. "The middle calls special attention to the subject ... the subject is acting in relation to himself somehow" (Roberson, 804).

The difference between the active and middle voice is one of emphasis. The active emphasizes the action of the verb; the middle emphasizes the actor [subject] of the verb. For many middle voices (especially the indirect middle), putting the subject in italics would communicate this emphasis.

1. Direct (Reflexive, Direct Reflexive) Middle

2. Indirect (Indirect Reflexive, Benefactive, Intensive, Dynamic) Middle

3. Causative Middle

4. Permissive Middle

5. Deponent Middle

C. Passive Voice

In general it can be said that in the passive voice the subject is acted upon or receives the action expressed by the verb. No volition - nor even necessarily awareness of the action - is implied on the part of the subject. That is, the subject may or may not be aware, its volition may or may not be involved. But these things are not stressed when the passive is used.

[Wallace breaks his discussion of the passive voice into "Passive construction" (with and without expressed agency, and the passive with an accusative object) and three "Passive uses," two of which are listed below.]

1. Simple Passive

2. Deponent Passive


Edition: Feb 10,2009