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How to say "Be quiet.", which is a command, in passive voice?

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1  
My friend, who is a kindergarten teacher, would say, "Let's be quiet." That doesn't answer your grammar question, but it is a less-commanding, less-bossy way of saying the same thing, which is probably what you're truly after. –  JLG Oct 7 '12 at 14:45
    
How about "It would be wonderful if quietness was observed, now."? –  LordScree Oct 7 '12 at 15:29
    
Better if it were were observed now I wit. –  user21497 Oct 7 '12 at 16:22
    
Is there a stylistic need for a this or is it just out of curiosity? –  Mitch Oct 8 '12 at 2:59
    
@JLG I can’t agree. Using the first person plural sounds incredibly patronising. In fact, it’s often used precisely to express a patronising tone in writing (the typical nurse talks like this to her elderly patient: “Are we hungry? Let’s have a bite …”). –  Konrad Rudolph Oct 8 '12 at 9:09

5 Answers 5

up vote 22 down vote accepted

Only transitive verbs can form passive constructions and be is not a transitive verb.

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+1 How a simple point count have been missed! –  Kris Oct 7 '12 at 14:23

Quiet is a predicate adjective, and almost all predicate adjectives are intransitive. Passive can only apply to a transitive predicate.

Be is an auxiliary verb, required to hold the tense for the predicate adjective; no auxiliary verb ever governs Passive. Indeed, the Passive construction uses be itself.

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It seems like "Silence would be appreciated." captures the meaning without being a command.

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"Let yourself be quieted" is a command in passive voice. While grammatically correct, it is also extremely convoluted, and sounds awkward.

"Let yourself be quietened" would be another British English variant, but no less awkward.

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'Quieten'? This is less than rare, it is unheard of in American English. –  Mitch Oct 8 '12 at 2:58
    
@Mitch I've updated the answer to offer the American version, and more importantly to offer a command that actually uses the passive voice. –  Ergwun Oct 8 '12 at 13:17

Try this:

The unruly class was quieted down by the teacher sharply whacking her yardstick on her desk.

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