I want to change voice of following sentence (where Ram is a person, and Sham may be an artist):

Ram is fan of Sham

Is something like "Sham is fanned by Ram" correct? I am looking for a word that can be paired with "is". Following is an example:

Ram follows Sham --> Sham is followed by Ram.

Here, in this sentence, "Is Followed" is what I need. So, when I say "Is Fanned", is it right?

  • Look at meanings of “fan” in a dictionary.
    – Anton
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 8:06
  • 4
    It should be "Ram is a fan of Sham" - fan being a noun, nor a verb. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 8:31

2 Answers 2


(CoGEL § 2.21) Active and passive structures

Clauses containing a noun phrase as object are distinguished by the fact that they are usually matched by passive clauses, in which the object noun phrase now appears as subject (Vpass = passive verb phrase), cf Table 2.21 on the next page. As type SVOO clauses have two objects, they can often have two passive forms - one in which the indirect object becomes the subject, and another in which the direct object becomes subject.

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Od: direct object
Oi: indirect object
Cs: subject related complement
A: adverbial As: subject related adverbial

In sentences where the main verb is "to be" there cannot be an object, and so voice is not a concept relevant to this verb and sentences that contain it. In fact it is not relevant to sentences that contain a copular verb, such as "to seem" and to "become".

  • The man on the bench seemed sick. (no passive)

  • The country is becoming poorer and poorer. (no passive)


"Sham is fanned by Ram" would be the passive version of "Ram fans Sham". Both suggest someone wafting air in the other's direction, so are not what you want here.

(Collins has a good list of meanings for "fan" when used as a [mainly transitive] verb.)

[Fans / is fanned] and [follows / is followed] are verb structures, while in the original sentence "is a fan" uses "fan" as a noun - (originally abbreviated from "fanatic"). The noun structure "Ram is a ... of" can be given a different subject by saying "has Ram as a ...". In this case, the verb we're trying to change is the verb "is" ("to be").

For the "follow" example, we could say "Ram is a follower of Sham" and "Sham has Ram as a follower"

So Sham has Ram as a fan. (Which is more fun to say than I thought it would be.)

  • "Ram is fanned by Sham" is wrong. "To fan" is not a transitive verb (it is not used as a verb at all in this sense) and, as such cannot be made passive. Sham has Ram as a fan. is not a passive.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 10:05
  • 1
    @Greybeard - It's right if Ram is blowing air at Sham, but that's not what the OP is looking for. But it's true that I picked up on the word "passive" and overused it. Editing. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 10:10
  • Other way round. Sham blows air at Ram. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 10:16

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