Het onpersoonlijk passief in het Nederlands en het Zweeds | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 54, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729



This paper gives an account of the impersonal passive in Dutch and Swedish and has two goals: first, to define the impersonal passive and second, to offer a corpus-based study of impersonal passives in both languages. Impersonal passives are defined as passive constructions encoding actions with a general reference. They are made up of an overt expletive subject, viz. ‘there’ in Dutch and ‘it’ in Swedish, combined with a passive predicate. A contrastive study of the impersonal passive gives a wider and in-depth analysis of this structure in both languages by applying knowledge from two grammatical traditions. The empirical part of the study reveals that impersonal passives occur more frequently in Dutch than in Swedish. Moreover, the empirical data show that elements such as telicity, transitivity and control come into play in an interesting way in impersonal passives.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): contrastive; corpus-based; Dutch; impersonal passive; Swedish
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