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The task is to open the brackets: I don't want these rumours (to spread) around. As far as I can see, both "to spread" and "to be spread" are possible. What sounds more natural to you? Does "around" influence your choice of Active/Passive?

Grammar books say we tend to use Active constructions. e.g. I have a lot of books to read. Exceptions to this rule are said to be: see (It remains to be seen) and do (There was nothing to be done about it).

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The choice of the Infinitive depends on the nature of the verb. In the sentence with 'spread' it is intransitive, so we use the Active Infinitive /i.e., rumours are spreading by themselves/. In the sentences with 'see, do', the verbs are transitive, so we use the Passive Infinitive/ i.e., something is seen or done/. The use of preposition 'around' doesn't influence the choice of the Infinitive here.

  • Thank you so much! That “around” preposition confused me a little. – Natalie Dec 2 '18 at 8:04
  • Passive or active is a distraction. You have not two but three cases: the rumours happen to be; spread; are spread. Splash ink on paper and what happens? It “spreads” by itself to a point, beyond which it needs to “be spread” by you. – Robbie Goodwin Dec 10 '18 at 23:45

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