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How can I use passive voice to say this sentence with suggest? Is this grammatical:

These models are suggested to be phased out by us.

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OK, my technical point has been shown (by comments) to be important. Do you mean We suggest that (you) phase these models out or (I) suggest that we phase these models out? There are various ways to phrase either, but the first thing is to determine what you are trying to say. –  TimLymington May 24 '12 at 15:27
    
If you want to put in the "by us", there doesn't seem to me to be any reason not to put that part of the sentence in the active voice and say "we suggest" or "we phase out", depending on which you mean. –  Peter Shor May 24 '12 at 15:55
    
Once again, there are two clauses here, and both of them are passivized already. Why should one "use passive voice" in the first place? –  John Lawler May 24 '12 at 16:38

4 Answers 4

Your suggestion is a little ambiguous; are you suggesting or phasing out? The best way of phrasing it in the passive voice is It is suggested that these models be phased out.

But the passive voice itself is rather weak; it conceals the identity of the suggester (which may, of course, be your intention). Unless there is an overriding reason, you should use the active voice, either as zooone9243 suggests or We suggest the phasing out of these models.

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A third option is It is suggested that we phase out these models. which uses "suggest" in passive voice and "phasing out" in active voice. The original sentence has ambiguity on whether we are doing the phasing out or the suggesting. –  zooone9243 May 24 '12 at 15:23
    
I interpret the OP's sentence a bit differently from how you seem to. To me, "the models are suggested to be [...]" means "it is suggested that the models are [...]" (or "are being [...]"), not "it is suggested that the models be [...]". (This might be a dialectal difference; Google finds some people using "you are suggested to [...]" to mean "it is recommended that you [...]", and other people commenting that they find that usage strange, as I do.) –  ruakh May 24 '12 at 20:52
    
@ruakh: thanks for that insight. It would never have crossed my mind, since it seems to me illogical; either the models are being (...) or they are not, and suggestion has nothing to do with it. Out of interest, what dialect is that? –  TimLymington May 24 '12 at 21:12
    
@TimLymington: Merriam-Webster defines the relevant senses of "suggest" as "to mention or imply as a possibility" and "to offer for consideration or as a hypothesis". My dialect is U.S. English, but I believe that these senses are standard everywhere. A Google search for "suggested that colour perception" suggests that plenty of Britons have used them. –  ruakh May 24 '12 at 22:51
    
@ruakh; that doesn't help me much, I'm afraid. Certainly the evidence may suggest or the author may wish to suggest that the models have been phased out, but not suggested to be. –  TimLymington May 24 '12 at 22:59

If you’re bound and determined to use suggest in a (doubly) passive construction, then I suppose that if you really wanted to, you could say

It is suggested that these models be phased out.

However, that’s pretty wordy, perhaps even overly formal, and perhaps even evasive. If it were me doing it, I’d just use this:

We suggest phasing these models out.

I find that that version sounds a lot simpler and more natural than anything else offered.

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RP? Received Pronunciation? That's an accent. –  Barrie England May 24 '12 at 15:56
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@BarrieEngland You’re right. Should I have said “RP speakers”? I don’t know any other way to contrast the (mild?) Scottish and American predilection for separating the particles of phrasal verbs with the somewhat stronger — what, Home Counties? predilection for not doing so. –  tchrist May 24 '12 at 16:04
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@BarrieEngland No, Standard English wouldn’t be the right way to say it, because it presumes that Standard American, Standard Scottish, Standard Canadian (etc.) are not Standard English, but of course they are, too. On the separability, I don’t have the reference close at hand, but have certainly read about it. I can look through my textbooks to see whether they mention this separability bias. I rather hate citing Wikipedia; it isn’t a first source, by definition. –  tchrist May 24 '12 at 16:15
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@BarrieEngland I certainly hope you do! :) The question is whether you are likely or unlikely to separate their particles from their objects. phase something out vs phase out something; turn off the light vs turn the light off; put the gun down vs put down the gun; give something up vs give up something. Yes of course those are all perfectly grammatical in English no matter which way you do them, but is there any sort of preference, or is it just haphazard? I find that folks from your area seem to keep together things I would separate, although it’s not guaranteed. Am I wrong? –  tchrist May 24 '12 at 16:22
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@BarrieEngland As would I. Curious. I’ll check my textbooks to see whether this is mentioned. –  tchrist May 24 '12 at 16:57

Your sentence is already using "suggest" in passive voice. If you are asking how you would convert it to active voice, you would say:

We are suggesting that these models be phased out.

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OP is asking whether his sentence is grammatical, though his actual question might be not :) Anyway, I much prefer the active voice as you suggest. This sentence sounds cumbersome in the passive voice. –  Gorpik May 24 '12 at 15:16
    
Yes, your rewrite sounds much better, something a native speaker would actually say. The original did not. An even more direct “We suggest that these models be phased out” is perhaps better still; I see no reason for present progressive here. –  tchrist May 24 '12 at 15:16

The subject in a passive clause must have the potential to become the object in an active clause. That would be the case in a sentence such as ‘These models were suggested to us by a close friend’. That can become active as ‘A close friend suggested these models to us’, but I can't quite see what the active vesion of your example would be. I'd avoid it, and use some of the other suggestions made here.

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