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In the realms of math and science, we tend to use a passive voice. From Purdue: Also, writers in the sciences conventionally use passive voice more often than writers in other discourses. Passive voice makes sense when the agent performing the action is obvious, unimportant, or unknown or when a writer wishes to postpone mentioning the agent until the ...


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Neither of the variants is a passive construction. 'I was finished ...' is interpretable either as a rare be-perfect (strictly, a be-past-perfect) still in use, which some might label as 'archaic' or perhaps 'colloquial' – or as a participial adjective construction (compare 'he was preoccupied with ...'). See Is it acceptable to use “is become” instead of ...


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To my British English-tuned ears, I haven't finished sounds like the correct usage. If you flip the sentences then I have finished makes sense while I was finished sounds like you were fatigued or dying. Or American.


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IT is a slight difference in tense, with the understanding that the person thought you were finished with that some time ago. I started using this thing a week ago, and haven't used it in a couple of days, so a coworker grabbed it saying that they assumed I was finished with that. I wasn't finished with it, but I understand why the person assumed that I was. ...


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"Letters have been being sent" sounds fine, to me. At any rate, it is the pattern of auxiliaries described by Chomsky in Syntactic Structures: (Modal) (have+en) (be+ing) (be+en) where the affixes are affixed to the following verb form (either auxiliary or real verb) by Affix Hopping. Your example is from Letters have+en be+ing be+en send which ...


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First, I agree that the example, as you stated it, does indeed sound a little strange. But I believe that it is the (over-)simplicity of the example -- a very short sentence, with no context around it -- that makes it sound strange. And I'm not saying anything about you; of course it is the case that these are precisely the kinds of examples that are used ...


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The present perfect progressive in passive voice is extremely rare. BNC has only two examples. http://bnc.bl.uk/saraWeb.php?qy=has+been+being&mysubmit=Go COCA has 8 incidents. http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/ Search for "has been being". The link does not work as I thought.


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The passive voice has it's uses: When the actor is unknown, irrelevant, or you just don't want to mention him: 15% of gasoline is wasted in cars idling at intersections. The left-over strawberries were stolen from the refrigerator last night. My telephone is being tapped. When the action or the acted upon is more important than the actor: All men are ...


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Anything that colors the canvas, that wields force, that inspires creativity, should and must be used to its fullest utility in the pursuit of one's own art. Why would you handicap yourself in order to fit a prescribed convention? http://englishstandarts.blogspot.tw/2012/06/passive-voice-texts-proverbs-and.html


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There you have found a task that is actually rather difficult and I would never try to explain the meaning of "have" and "been" in a passive like "I have been sent". Either you take the view of John Lawler or you have to write a book about Latin conjugation, the change of this conjugation system in German and the second change of the Germanic system in ...


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The construction "have been ________" generally indicates the present perfect continuous, and is used to denote an action that has been happening for some amount of time until the present moment, e.g. "I have been studying for my chemistry exam." In your example, the rhetorical sense is muddier, since you were not continuously in the act of receiving a ...


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These are auxilliary verbs, and as such they do not mean anything by definition. You cannot explain the meaning because there is none. They serve a grammatical function (perfect aspect, passive voice), not a semantic one. An auxiliary verb is a verb that adds functional or grammatical meaning to the clause in which it appears—for example, to express ...


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This is an excellent question to illustrate some rules of English grammar. Let's first analyze the sentence "Harry Potter is the best book ever written" from your friend's (correct) point of view that the sentence is not in the passive voice: Independent clause: Subject-Verb-Predicate Nominative. Subject = "Harry Potter" Verb (copulative), present tense ...


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"written" in your sentence is the past participle and as the shortened relative clause is derived from a clause in passive voice, "written" has passive character. In Latin a third base form is called perfect participle passive. In English this term was simplified to "past participle" As the third base form is not only used for passive verb forms but also ...


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I think "the best book ever written" is an elision for "the best book that has ever been written", which is present participle perfect in passive voice. Edit: typo


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That depends on your intention. There are French history, traditions, culture and famous people described. e.g. written as There are descriptions of French history, traditions, culture and famous people. This states French history traditions culture famous people are described. You may also take the French solely for French history, some ...



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