Disregarding passive voice and vocabulary choice, which of the following sentences is most correct? "Joyful notes were issued from the saxophone." or "Joyful notes issued from the saxophone."

My impression is that the latter is not a complete sentence, but I did find an online dictionary entry for "issued" giving the example sentence "Exotic smells issued from a nearby building."

Thank you!

  • Welcome to EL&U. Your first sentence is worded passively and I would say unidiomatically. The second, worded in an active manner is quite correct grammatically and is also idiomatic.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 10, 2017 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


"Issue" as a transitive verb, normally means "publish" or "make available by some process". It is used of documents, books, tickets, passports etc., not of musical notes.

The meaning here is the intransitive "issue" meaning "come out", and is perfectly normal in this sense (except that many people would regard it as a rather formal word).

  • Thank you so much! Hypothetically speaking, which of the following would you prefer in the casual relation of a memory? (Would both be acceptable?) 1) Joyful notes issued from the saxophone. 2) Joyful notes appeared from the saxophone. Dec 10, 2017 at 23:18
  • "Joyful notes came out of the saxophone".
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 10, 2017 at 23:27
  • 'Appeared' is not appropriate as it suggests something visible. 'Emanated from' is another possibility. Dec 11, 2017 at 16:48

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