Common mistake to be able to + 'passive voice'

Common Mistake: Using Passive Voice after 'to be able to'

The phrase 'to be able to' is commonly used to express a person's capability or skill to do something. However, it is important to avoid using the passive voice after 'to be able to' in order to maintain clear and effective communication.

Let's take a closer look at why using the passive voice after 'to be able to' can be problematic, and how it can be corrected.

The Problem with Using Passive Voice

The passive voice is a grammatical construction that emphasizes the object of the action rather than the subject. It can make sentences sound vague, impersonal, and less direct. When used after 'to be able to', the passive voice can lead to ambiguity and a lack of clarity.

For example:

  • Incorrect: He is able to be understood by everyone.
  • Correct: Everyone is able to understand him.

In the incorrect sentence, the passive voice ('to be understood') makes the subject ('he') less clear, leading to confusion. In the correct sentence, using the active voice clarifies the subject ('everyone') and improves the overall clarity of the sentence.

How to Correctly Use 'To Be Able To'

To avoid the common mistake of using the passive voice after 'to be able to', it is important to use the active voice and clearly identify the subject of the sentence.

For example:

  • Incorrect: The problem is able to be solved by our team.
  • Correct: Our team is able to solve the problem.

In the incorrect sentence, the passive voice ('to be solved') takes the focus away from the subject ('our team'). By rephrasing the sentence in the correct form, the subject becomes clear and the sentence becomes more direct and impactful.

Linguix grammar checker: Utilizing a grammar checker like Linguix can help identify and correct instances of using the passive voice after 'to be able to'. By providing real-time suggestions and explanations, Linguix can assist in improving your overall writing style and enhancing the clarity of your sentences.

to be able to + 'passive voice' mistake examples

  • Correct:
    The problem was able to be solved.
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