Part B. Omitting the Agent
in some cases, it is obvious as to whether or not to omit the agent, or to remove the ‘doer’ from the sentence, particularly if the agent is indefinite, for example, people. However, it makes little difference in some sentences. The speaker may wish to include the agent for reasons of clarity, e.g. The book was edited by the deputy editor (not the chief editor.)
Think about whether the agent is best omitted from these sentences.
Example: Dresden was heavily bombed by the Allied forces.
The agent is necessary since other air forces could have bombed the city.
- Over 100,000 Japanese civilians were killed in Hiroshima by the first atomic bomb to be used in wartime.
- In England, small allotments were cultivated by people to provide food.
- In the US, merchant ships were produced by ship workers in record time.
- In the Vietnam War, many soldiers were killed by friendly fire.
- Underground bomb shelters were constructed by people in London.