Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
3 added 1299 characters in body
source | link

I really wonder on what your assessment that "the usage of passive voice in the second sentence is not permitted" is based. There is really no reason why it would not be permitted.

However, the sentence is ungrammatical for another reason:

*The pupils were explained everything to by the teacher.

If we leave that to out of there, there is nothing wrong with the sentence:

The pupils were explained everything by the teacher.

Note: as Peter Shor mentions in his comment to the question, there are plenty of people who will not agree that this sentence is grammatical.

There seem to be various levels of acceptance of the ditransitive use of explain. Personally, I fully understand the meaning of "A explained C to B" => "B was explained C by A", I see no reason to label it ungrammatical. Whether it is idiomatic is another thing, that largely depends on your audience.

Now, what was that to doing there? Actually, if you would have formed your first sentence in a similar way, it would have been:

*I was given to money.

You can choose what the subject of your sentence is — if the sentence in the active voice is You give me the money, you can make me or the money the subject. If you make me the subject, you use the nominative of me, which is I. To is used only with the me form (dative), not with the I form (nominative):

The money was given to me. (the money is the subject)
I was given the money. (I is the subject)

The same goes for your students:

The teacher explained everything to the students. (active)
Everything was explained to the pupils by the teacher. (passive, everything is the subject)
The pupils were explained everything by the teacher. (passive, the pupils is the subject)


As Peter mentions in his answer, whether the passive form where the indirect object become the subject is considered grammatical, depends on whether the indirect object can be used without a preposition. Although I have seen several people mention that this is an exceptional, or rare, occurrence in English, I beg to differ:

sing me a song
read me a story
show me a trick
teach me English
give me a break
lend me some money
send me a letter

These are just some quick examples I off the top of my head.

It does seem to be generally accepted in at least English and American English that in the case of explain, the preposition can not be dropped. However, in Indian English speakers seem to agree that it can. Also in (some?) Spanish-influenced English dialects, the preposition seems to be dropped habitually.

So if you want to make sure nobody criticizes your English, do not use sentences like:

Please explain me what is happening!
Can someone explain us how we got here?

On the other hand, as long as people get away with meaning the opposite of what the mean, I personally won't call those sentences wrong — they are clear in meaning and convey the intended message. If some consider it ungrammatical, I couldn't care less.

I really wonder on what your assessment that "the usage of passive voice in the second sentence is not permitted" is based. There is really no reason why it would not be permitted.

However, the sentence is ungrammatical for another reason:

*The pupils were explained everything to by the teacher.

If we leave that to out of there, there is nothing wrong with the sentence:

The pupils were explained everything by the teacher.

Note: as Peter Shor mentions in his comment to the question, there are plenty of people who will not agree that this sentence is grammatical.

There seem to be various levels of acceptance of the ditransitive use of explain. Personally, I fully understand the meaning of "A explained C to B" => "B was explained C by A", I see no reason to label it ungrammatical. Whether it is idiomatic is another thing, that largely depends on your audience.

Now, what was that to doing there? Actually, if you would have formed your first sentence in a similar way, it would have been:

*I was given to money.

You can choose what the subject of your sentence is — if the sentence in the active voice is You give me the money, you can make me or the money the subject. If you make me the subject, you use the nominative of me, which is I. To is used only with the me form (dative), not with the I form (nominative):

The money was given to me. (the money is the subject)
I was given the money. (I is the subject)

The same goes for your students:

The teacher explained everything to the students. (active)
Everything was explained to the pupils by the teacher. (passive, everything is the subject)
The pupils were explained everything by the teacher. (passive, the pupils is the subject)

I really wonder on what your assessment that "the usage of passive voice in the second sentence is not permitted" is based. There is really no reason why it would not be permitted.

However, the sentence is ungrammatical for another reason:

*The pupils were explained everything to by the teacher.

If we leave that to out of there, there is nothing wrong with the sentence:

The pupils were explained everything by the teacher.

Note: as Peter Shor mentions in his comment to the question, there are plenty of people who will not agree that this sentence is grammatical.

There seem to be various levels of acceptance of the ditransitive use of explain. Personally, I fully understand the meaning of "A explained C to B" => "B was explained C by A", I see no reason to label it ungrammatical. Whether it is idiomatic is another thing, that largely depends on your audience.

Now, what was that to doing there? Actually, if you would have formed your first sentence in a similar way, it would have been:

*I was given to money.

You can choose what the subject of your sentence is — if the sentence in the active voice is You give me the money, you can make me or the money the subject. If you make me the subject, you use the nominative of me, which is I. To is used only with the me form (dative), not with the I form (nominative):

The money was given to me. (the money is the subject)
I was given the money. (I is the subject)

The same goes for your students:

The teacher explained everything to the students. (active)
Everything was explained to the pupils by the teacher. (passive, everything is the subject)
The pupils were explained everything by the teacher. (passive, the pupils is the subject)


As Peter mentions in his answer, whether the passive form where the indirect object become the subject is considered grammatical, depends on whether the indirect object can be used without a preposition. Although I have seen several people mention that this is an exceptional, or rare, occurrence in English, I beg to differ:

sing me a song
read me a story
show me a trick
teach me English
give me a break
lend me some money
send me a letter

These are just some quick examples I off the top of my head.

It does seem to be generally accepted in at least English and American English that in the case of explain, the preposition can not be dropped. However, in Indian English speakers seem to agree that it can. Also in (some?) Spanish-influenced English dialects, the preposition seems to be dropped habitually.

So if you want to make sure nobody criticizes your English, do not use sentences like:

Please explain me what is happening!
Can someone explain us how we got here?

On the other hand, as long as people get away with meaning the opposite of what the mean, I personally won't call those sentences wrong — they are clear in meaning and convey the intended message. If some consider it ungrammatical, I couldn't care less.

2 added 464 characters in body
source | link

I really wonder on what your assessment that "the usage of passive voice in the second sentence is not permitted" is based. There is really no reason why it would not be permitted.

However, the sentence is ungrammatical for another reason:

*The pupils were explained everything to by the teacher.

If we leave that to out of there, there is nothing wrong with the sentence:

The pupils were explained everything by the teacher.

Note: as Peter Shor mentions in his comment to the question, there are plenty of people who will not agree that this sentence is grammatical.

There seem to be various levels of acceptance of the ditransitive use of explain. Personally, I fully understand the meaning of "A explained C to B" => "B was explained C by A", I see no reason to label it ungrammatical. Whether it is idiomatic is another thing, that largely depends on your audience.

Now, what was that to doing there? Actually, if you would have formed your first sentence in a similar way, it would have been:

*I was given to money.

You can choose what the subject of your sentence is — if the sentence in the active voice is You give me the money, you can make me or the money the subject. If you make me the subject, you use the nominative of me, which is I. To is used only with the me form (dative), not with the I form (nominative):

The money was given to me. (the money is the subject)
I was given the money. (I is the subject)

The same goes for your students:

The teacher explained everything to the students. (active)
Everything was explained to the pupils by the teacher. (passive, everything is the subject)
The pupils were explained everything by the teacher. (passive, the pupils is the subject)

I really wonder on what your assessment that "the usage of passive voice in the second sentence is not permitted" is based. There is really no reason why it would not be permitted.

However, the sentence is ungrammatical for another reason:

*The pupils were explained everything to by the teacher.

If we leave that to out of there, there is nothing wrong with the sentence:

The pupils were explained everything by the teacher.

Now, what was that to doing there? Actually, if you would have formed your first sentence in a similar way, it would have been:

*I was given to money.

You can choose what the subject of your sentence is — if the sentence in the active voice is You give me the money, you can make me or the money the subject. If you make me the subject, you use the nominative of me, which is I. To is used only with the me form (dative), not with the I form (nominative):

The money was given to me. (the money is the subject)
I was given the money. (I is the subject)

The same goes for your students:

The teacher explained everything to the students. (active)
Everything was explained to the pupils by the teacher. (passive, everything is the subject)
The pupils were explained everything by the teacher. (passive, the pupils is the subject)

I really wonder on what your assessment that "the usage of passive voice in the second sentence is not permitted" is based. There is really no reason why it would not be permitted.

However, the sentence is ungrammatical for another reason:

*The pupils were explained everything to by the teacher.

If we leave that to out of there, there is nothing wrong with the sentence:

The pupils were explained everything by the teacher.

Note: as Peter Shor mentions in his comment to the question, there are plenty of people who will not agree that this sentence is grammatical.

There seem to be various levels of acceptance of the ditransitive use of explain. Personally, I fully understand the meaning of "A explained C to B" => "B was explained C by A", I see no reason to label it ungrammatical. Whether it is idiomatic is another thing, that largely depends on your audience.

Now, what was that to doing there? Actually, if you would have formed your first sentence in a similar way, it would have been:

*I was given to money.

You can choose what the subject of your sentence is — if the sentence in the active voice is You give me the money, you can make me or the money the subject. If you make me the subject, you use the nominative of me, which is I. To is used only with the me form (dative), not with the I form (nominative):

The money was given to me. (the money is the subject)
I was given the money. (I is the subject)

The same goes for your students:

The teacher explained everything to the students. (active)
Everything was explained to the pupils by the teacher. (passive, everything is the subject)
The pupils were explained everything by the teacher. (passive, the pupils is the subject)

1
source | link

I really wonder on what your assessment that "the usage of passive voice in the second sentence is not permitted" is based. There is really no reason why it would not be permitted.

However, the sentence is ungrammatical for another reason:

*The pupils were explained everything to by the teacher.

If we leave that to out of there, there is nothing wrong with the sentence:

The pupils were explained everything by the teacher.

Now, what was that to doing there? Actually, if you would have formed your first sentence in a similar way, it would have been:

*I was given to money.

You can choose what the subject of your sentence is — if the sentence in the active voice is You give me the money, you can make me or the money the subject. If you make me the subject, you use the nominative of me, which is I. To is used only with the me form (dative), not with the I form (nominative):

The money was given to me. (the money is the subject)
I was given the money. (I is the subject)

The same goes for your students:

The teacher explained everything to the students. (active)
Everything was explained to the pupils by the teacher. (passive, everything is the subject)
The pupils were explained everything by the teacher. (passive, the pupils is the subject)