The title says it all. This question had come up in my exam and I wrote the answer as follows

"The first prize in the wall painting competition has been won by Steve**"

But the teacher though, says that its "The first prize has been won by Steve in the wall painting competition" (I feel it doesn't sound right)

I am confused now, though I was confident of the answer. Please help me. Thanks

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  • 1
    I have a slight preference for your phrasing. Additionally, here in the US (not sure about UK) we wouldn't say "THE first prize..." - we'd just say "First prize..." – cruthers Apr 8 at 16:35
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    Your answer is good. However you have the situation where the boss (sorry, teacher) had a different result in mind, without the flexibility to say yours is still correct. – Yosef Baskin Apr 8 at 16:35
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    What @YosefBaskin said. Anyone who thinks only one sequence is "correct" has no business teaching English. Find a different teacher, if you can. – FumbleFingers Apr 8 at 16:44
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    I've a largish preference for your answer. The other on show (and it's not the only other possibility) is not ungrammatical, but is more clumsy. The definite article is (per se) optional, but as it's given in the original, will doubtless be preferred in the passivisation. //// Actually, different variants can be used to give different stresses: "In which discipline did Steve win first prize?" ... "The first prize has been won by Steve in the wall painting competition." – Edwin Ashworth Apr 8 at 16:53
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    It's just idiomatic here to say that someone "won first prize" or "won second prize..." If you watch an awards show, the announcement would be "First prize goes to..." and not "The first prize." I don't know that there is a logic to it, but it would sound bizarre to say, "I won the first prize in the competition." That almost sounds like there is a sequence of prizes, and you won the first one that was announced. What you intend to say, I assume, is that you beat everyone, i.e. came in first = "won first prize." – cruthers Apr 8 at 17:38

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