False positives and negatives in the Polish passive analysis

This article gives an overview of the cases in which the Yoast SEO passive voice assessment for Polish will yield incorrect results. We always strive for results that are as accurate as possible. However, because of the irregularities in human language, it will never be possible to get our analysis 100% right.

Below you find a list of cases in which our analysis will either incorrectly detect passive voice in sentences that aren’t really passive (false positives) or in which it will fail to detect passive voice in sentences that are actually passive (false negatives).

It’s not necessary to know about all of those cases to write a good text. Rather, this overview is intended to give you some clues in case you’re wondering why certain sentences are not correctly detected by the passive voice analysis.

Passive voice in Polish

To help you understand the false positives and negatives, here is a quick explanation of how the passive voice assessment works. The passive voice assessor in Polish looks for sentences containing a passive auxiliary and a past participle (a passive verb).

Passive auxiliaries are formed using a form of the verb ‘być’ or ‘zostać’. They are ‘helper verbs’ to the main passive verb.

Past participles are the main verbs of a passive form. They are verb forms such as ‘pisana’ or ‘’jedzone’.

False positives in YoastSEO for Polish

The passive voice assessment will incorrectly detect a passive voice in the following cases:

1. When a word that can be a passive verb also has other functions or meanings

Sometimes the same word can be either a passive verb, or something else, such as an adjective. Usually the only way to know which one it is is based on context. So if a word that can be a passive verb is not used this way in a particular sentence, and if that sentence also has a form of ‘być’ or ‘zostać’ in it, we cannot tell it apart from an actual passive. Below are two examples of such sentences.

Example 1: Jesteś kochana.

Depending on context, ‘kochana’ in the above sentence can be either a passive verb (‘kochana’ = ‘loved’) or an adjective (‘kochana’ = ‘lovely’).

Example 2: Tam gdzie jestem stoi ozdobiona choinka.

The above sentence has both an auxiliary (‘jestem’) and a verb that could be passive (‘ozdobiona’). However, they do not belong together – ‘ozdobiona’ is an adjective describing the noun ‘choinka’, and ‘jestem’ refers to the subject of the sentence. 

False negatives in YoastSEO for Polish

The passive voice assessment will fail to detect a passive voice in the following cases:

  1. When the participle is a rare verb

Participles are matched based on an extensive list of Polish participles. However, it is rarely possible to include all possible cases of a linguistic category. Therefore, some rare participles may not be on our list, and therefore may not be detected. Please let us know if you think there’s a participle we should add, and we will gladly add it to our list.

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