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In the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), there is a scene where Peter and his friend Ned are in Aunt May's car before they go to Liz's party. Aunt May says this line to Ned:

May: Ned, some hats wear men. You wear that hat.

I know she is complimenting Ned, but I don't understand why it is. What does "some hats wear men" mean?

  • It's in the passive voice of "Some men wear hats" The man is doing the verb and in the passive "Some hats wear men" is the object being done by the verb. It means that the hat is not chosen by men but by the hat itself; it's a form of idiom. Similar to, "I didn't choose the thug life; the thug life chose me" – aesking Jun 12 '18 at 6:27
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    @aesking It's a reversal, surely; the passive voice would be "Some men are worn by their hats". I take it to mean that a very conspicuous hat worn by a self-effacing person seems to dominate their personality in the eyes of others. – Kate Bunting Jun 12 '18 at 8:11
  • @Kate no because that would mean "some hats wear men" would have to be "some hats are worn by men". Are worn is certainly a past participle in the passive mood, but one can quite simply turn into the passive by changing who/what is being done to the verb. Remember "some hats wear men" is idiomatic (also parataxis) and therefore should not follow a formal expesssion in the passive // and changing the wording of the sentence that defeats the purpose of a parataxis is not recommended. – aesking Jun 12 '18 at 11:35

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