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39

The wording was delivered of was used in the official announcement at Buckingham Palace (image from the Press Association via BBC News): OED has 3 a. To disburden (a woman) of the fœtus, to bring to childbirth; in pass., to give birth to a child or offspring. Rarely said of beasts. (The active is late and chiefly in obstetrical use.) which is a use ...


35

The Middle Construction "The ticket is printing" is something known as a middle construction. It is called "middle" because it is not exactly a passive sentence ("The ticket is being printed") and not exactly an active sentence (because the "ticket" is not really the agent of the action). Some examples of middles from "An Introduction to English Syntax": ...


23

I tried to use "I" in the first version of my thesis (in mathematics). When my advisor suggested corrections, the most detailed and strongly-worded of them was to use "we"; later, I asked another young professor whether one could use "I" and she said "Only if you want to sound like an arrogant bastard", and observed that only old people with established ...


22

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


22

Actually the answer is much simpler than those already provided. The mother is not the one doing the "delivering", that is the doctor. So the doctor delivered the baby and the Duchess was "delivered of" the baby.


20

We is used in papers with multiple authors. Even in papers having only one author/researcher, we is used to draw the reader into the discussion at hand. Moreover, there are several ways to avoid using the passive voice in the absence of we. On the one hand, there are many instances where the passive voice cannot be avoided, while, on the other, we can also ...


20

Both of those choices are bad, but if given only them as choices for completing the analogy, choose the second, because although it is clumsy, it is correct, in grammar if not quite in sense. The grammar of the other choice is in error. However, phrasing like "An attempt was made to eat the worms" should be used if the question is open-ended. Edit: ...


20

When talking about birth, to deliver does not (originally) mean to bring, like "the stork delivered the baby to us" or "UPS delivered the baby". Rather, it means to relieve (somebody of something) as in "deliver us!" or "seeking deliverance". So, the unborn baby is seen as a burden the mother has been carrying, and at birth she is relieved of, or delivered ...


19

John ate the worms. becomes: The worms were eaten. Because "the worms" is the object of the first sentence. "The worms" becomes the subject of the new passive-voice sentence. John tried to eat the worms. Here "the worms" are not the object of the sentence, so they can't become the subject in a straightforward transformation to passive voice. ...


15

You can use forms of get instead of forms of be as an alternative way to formulate the passive voice. Passive voice clauses constructed with get are less formal than those formed with be, but otherwise have the same meaning. However, you can’t use get for stative uses of the passive voice, where the passive indicates the result of an action. You can only ...


15

You can only form a passive out of a transitive verb. To stay when used transitively does not mean the same thing as used intransitively. The word you might be looking for is lodged. People can be lodged in or at a hotel.


14

A clause in the passive voice must have all the following: A form of an auxiliary verb (usually be or get) The past participle of a transitive verb No direct object The subject of the verb phrase is the entity undergoing an action or having its state changed Optionally, the agent is expressed in a prepositional phrase with by. There are a couple ...


14

This may seem flippant, but: This question was not to be closed. = Spoken by Gandalf. This question shouldn't have been closed. = Spoken by everybody else.


13

It's never bad form to use passive form. It's just that in speech, we tend to use a lot of this, but there's nothing wrong with using the passive form in writing, or in speech. From the Passive Engineer: Despite the admonitions of grammar checkers, the passive construction has a legitimate function. When you want to emphasize results, use the passive. ...


12

Passive voice is a construction where the object of a transitive verb is moved into the subject position, and the subject is optionally moved into a prepositional phrase. In English, the passive can always be identified by to be + past participle. Some examples: Active: Kim hits the ball. Passive: The ball is hit by Kim. Active: Grandma baked a ...


12

You should probably consult a faculty member, or look at papers in your own field, in order to decide anything definitively. These kinds of conventions can vary within fields and subfields, so you should see what your peers do. In my field, using I in a paper is something to be avoided whenever possible, by using the passive voice, the pronoun one, or by ...


12

How about: The worms were stolen, taken to John's house, and an attempt to eat them was made


11

By all means write "I". By an amusing coincidence, I have in front of me the article Deformations of Symmetric Products, a proceedings article published by Princeton University Press. The author is the late George R. Kempf, a distinguished algebraic geometer, and on the very first page I read [not we read:-)]: "My proof uses heavily the deformation ...


10

I don't think there's anything wrong with using we in single-author scientific journal papers. It's the tradition, and if you use I in scientific papers it stands out, not necessarily in a good way. On the other hand, a PhD thesis is not a scientific journal paper, but a PhD thesis, and if you want to use I in it I don't see anything wrong with that. The ...


10

I would go with: The worms were stolen, taken to John's house and very nearly eaten. Alternatively, The worms were stolen, taken to John's house and almost successfully eaten. I don't see any good way to get around implying the attempt, rather than stating it.


10

There is no grammatical error in the sentence. If you've been told by an English teacher that there is a problem, then they are referring to a stylistic error (according to whatever guidelines they adhere to). It is possible that someone would expect you to use active voice here because the agent of the verb is known. For example, if the sentence is about ...


10

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 ...


10

Besides tchrist's suggestion of lodged, you could also say Passengers can be sent to their destination on a different flight or be housed at a hotel. (In this instance, house has the definition of: to give shelter to; harbor; lodge Or you could say: Passengers can be sent to their destination on a different flight or be put up in a hotel. Or ...


10

The usage you question is definitely a usage that is frequently criticized. "Grammar Girl" Mignon Fogarty writes: most grammar sources I checked (2, 3, 4) agree that ‘is comprised of’ is an incorrect phrase. She cites many of the usual suspects in schoolmarm-style prescriptive rules of this sort: Garner's Modern American Usage, Bryson’s Dictionary for ...


9

Grammar Girl had a good podcast on this very topic recently: "Active Voice Versus Passive Voice" She had a really good definition for passive voice: What is Passive Voice? In passive voice, the target of the action gets promoted to the subject position. Instead of saying, "Steve loves Amy," I would say, "Amy is loved by Steve." The subject of ...


9

The worms were stolen, taken to John's house, and subjected to an attempted ingestion. or if you want to keep the verb "eat", The worms were stolen, taken to John's house, and subjected to an attempt at eating them.


9

Locate is a transitive verb and so can form a passive. The active The three travellers located the source of the river 50 miles inland. becomes, in the passive, The source of the river was located by the three travellers 50 miles inland. However, in the construction X is located in Y, the -ed form of the verb is a participial adjective acting ...


9

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.


9

There is nothing grammatically incorrect about His room is being painted by John. However it doesn't carry the exact same meaning as John is painting his room. The first (passive) means that John is painting someone else's room, where as the second (active) could mean that, but it's more likely that it means that John is painting his own room. ...



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