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Is there a passive for "vote for/against"? I mean do such sentences as "The bill was voted for/against" really exist? If so, can the passive of this sentence "OPEC members voted for a second round of price rises" be "A second round of price rises was voted for (by OPEC members)?

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    Yes, it's called a prepositional passive: "They voted for/against the bill" ~ "The bill was voted for/ against" – BillJ Oct 29 '17 at 11:48
  • To be more specific, how can we change such sentence as "OPEC members voted for a second round of price rises" into passive? That's the answer I proposed, and I'm wondering to what extent it is proper English: A second round of price rises were voted for(by OPEC members, – Ahmed Oct 29 '17 at 11:50
  • "A second round of price rises was voted for by OPEC members" is fine. It's just a prepositional passive like the one I gave in my first message. – BillJ Oct 29 '17 at 11:54
  • Yes, it is just you. The passive is an entailment of the active. It is clear from the passive that (all) OPEC members voted for the rises. – BillJ Oct 29 '17 at 17:25
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    @BillJ: I'm not sure. The active version implies that the second round of price rises was approved by a vote -- that it won a majority among the OPEC members who voted -- whereas that passive version just sounds like some OPEC members voted for it, without saying which members or even how many of them. Or is that just me? – ruakh Oct 29 '17 at 18:10
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Sentences of the type

The bill was voted for/against [by X].

do indeed exist in English. They are instances of passive constructions, about which commentators have expended much ink in the past and many bytes of memory today.

The sentence that actually interests you, to judge from a comment that you posted beneath your original question, is this:

A second round of price rises were voted for [by OPEC members].

This, too, is a common type of construction in English. You will note, however, that your proposed replacement for the original active construction, which was

OPEC members voted for a second round of price rises.

has created a singular/plural issue where none previously existed. Now you have to decide whether OPEC voted for "a second round (of price rises)" or "price rises (with respect to which this episode of voting was the second round)." In the former case, "a second round" is the subject and takes a singular verb in the passive construction, as BillJ notes in a comment beneath the posted question:

A second round of price rises was voted for [by OPEC members].

In the latter case, you may need to engage in some further contortions to square the construction with the intended plural subject. Something like this might work:

Additional price rises were voted for [by OPEC members], following approval X months ago of an earlier round of price increases.

Often, the purpose of a passive construction is to present an action or event as if it spontaneously or inevitably happened, not as if it represented an outcome that specific actors carefully engineered to advance their own interests. If that is the reason for your preference for a passive version of

OPEC members voted for a second round of price rises.

you will probably want to drop the "by OPEC members" from the passive construction. Doing so would leave you with this wording:

A second round of price rises was voted for.

Unfortunately, that sentence breaks off a bit abruptly and gracelessly at the end, which has the undesirable effect of calling attention to the absence of a named group responsible for the vote. Polished purveyors of passive constructions make an effort to choose verbs that sand away such jagged endings. Here, a more suitable passive construction might be

A second round of price rises was approved.

The wording iss compact, smooth, and over before the reader knows it. Undoubtedly, many readers won't even realize that the sentence doesn't identify an actor responsible for the named action. Another tactical victory built on passive constructions is achieved.

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The usual way to reverse the subject and object:

"Ten people voted for the bill."

versus:

"The bill received ten votes."

But passively you could say "The bill was voted on ten times."

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  • Appreciate your answer. So can't we change it into the passive using the conventional rules of making passives? Or would it be awkwad phrasing? – Ahmed Oct 29 '17 at 11:08
  • To be more specific, how can we change such sentences as "OPEC members voted for a second round of price rises" Or " I voted against segregation" into passive? – Ahmed Oct 29 '17 at 11:11
  • @Ahmed You can say:"Segregation was voted against by me." Its just not colloquial. – Gary's Student Oct 29 '17 at 11:19
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    "The bill was voted down" is fine, though. – Lawrence Oct 29 '17 at 11:25
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    "The bill was voted on 10 times" does not have the same meaning as "Ten people voted for the bill" or "the bill received 10 votes".... – Hellion Nov 28 '17 at 17:59

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