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Impersonal life.jpg


Middle English, from Late Latin impersonalis, from Latin in- + Late Latin personalis personal


  • 1 a : denoting the verbal action of an unspecified agent and hence used with no expressed subject (as methinks) or with a merely formal subject (as rained in it rained)
b of a pronoun : indefinite
b : not engaging the human personality or emotions <the machine as compared with the hand tool is an impersonal agency — John Dewey>
c : not existing as a person : not having human qualities or characteristics


Impersonal passive voice

The impersonal passive voice is a verb voice that decreases the valency of an intransitive verb (which has valency one) to zero.

The impersonal passive deletes the subject of an intransitive verb. In place of the verb's subject, the construction instead may include a syntactic placeholder, also called a dummy. This placeholder has neither thematic nor referential content. (A similar example is the word "there" in the English phrase "There are three books.")