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What will be the passive voice for - "she quits her teaching job in school".I have come up with -"the teaching job in school is quit by her".But somehow its not sounding correct.Is it fine?

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Quit is a verb that English speakers do not put in passive voice. This might be because it would be confused with the adjective quit (of), which is usually used in phrases such as "I am quit of that trouble", meaning that I no longer have that trouble. –  Peter Shor Jun 21 '12 at 13:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Quit is not really transitive with the noun job; it's too intimately linked with its object, and that object is usually an Object Complement clause, because the normal meaning is to stop performing some activity permanently, or at least for some time. (There are also Subject Complements, but not in this example.)

  • He quit smoking.

There is also an economic idiom to quit which means to stop working at one's employment, permanently and voluntarily (as opposed, for instance, to being fired, which is permanent and involuntary, or being laid off, which is temporary and involuntary); the only direct object one can quit in this idiomatic sense is one's job, and so the object is frequently not expressed.

Thus it isn't really a transitive sentence because the verb and its object express an intransitive predicate -- like the idiom kick the bucket, meaning 'to die' -- and therefore can't be passivized.

  • Harry kicked the bucket yesterday. ~ *The bucket was kicked by Harry yesterday.
  • Harry quit his job yesterday. ~ *Harry's job was quit by him yesterday.
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Fixed the link; thanks for noticing. Plus I added a complementary link on Subject Complements. These are class handouts, with solved exercises from the "syntax lab". –  John Lawler Jun 21 '12 at 13:40
    
@John Lawler now I got another confusion."He quit smoking" and "He quits smoking" -both are fine?Why we are not adding 's' as 3rd person singular rule? –  Monojit Jun 21 '12 at 14:52
    
@Monojit Because 3SgPres {-Z} is Present tense. The principal parts of quit are quit, quit, quit. Thus "He quit smoking" is Past tense; you can only tell the difference in 3Sg. "I quit smoking" and "They quit smoking" could be either present or past, because they're not inflected for person or number, and the tense inflection is Zero in the case of quit, hit, shit, bid, and some other D/T-final monosyllables. –  John Lawler Jun 21 '12 at 16:12
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thank you very much.so much to learn ... :) –  Monojit Jun 21 '12 at 16:16

In my opinion, "quit" by definition is an active verb; I would switch to something like "The teaching job was vacated." or "The teaching job was abandoned."

One would use the passive voice in this instance, I'd imagine, if you want to put the focus on the job, as opposed to the person who quit the job.

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Well, the OED3 does attest several instances of to be quit(ted) in a passive construction, but most of these are obsolete or apply to a different sense than the one under discussion here. –  tchrist Jun 21 '12 at 13:18

Sounds quite right for passive voice to me. "She" is the subject in the sentence in active voice and "she" is taking the action of quitting the job.

"The teaching job in school" is the subject in the passive voice which is the recipient of the action (of quitting).

It sounds awkward though, the reason its advised to avoid using passive voice in writing (some time it is more correct to use the passive voice but that's rare).

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protected by RegDwigнt Jun 21 '12 at 21:01

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