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).


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.

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  • 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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