When the verb make is passive, then the following verb requires the full infinitive.

For example: He was made to leave.

What about passive make followed by passive verb?

For example: He was made to be punished

Is it correct?

  • 1
    The sentence is correct of course and I think it is again in the passive voice. You could write it in the active voice this: [God] made him to be punished [by people.]
    – user405662
    Apr 28 at 9:57
  • I doubt whether your suggestion is correct or not, on the grounds that when the verb make is active and followed by a passive verb we are supposed to use TO HAVE/GET SMB + PAST PARTICIPLE.
    – Danilo
    Apr 28 at 10:06
  • There are structures like "Peter was ordered to be punished", meaning someone ordered someone to punish Peter. Such structures are possible but often awkward (not least because they involve a lot of unnamed or unidentified people). In general I would avoid them. But it would help if you explained what your meaning is, and why you think it should be structured like that, rather than using another format. Maybe provide some context, a few sentences.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 28 at 11:20
  • Only certain verbs appear in double passive constructions, and made — a true causative verb — isn’t really one of them. Apr 28 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


I feel it best to look first at a similar construction, because 'was made to be' has the default meaning 'was made in such a way as to be' (compare 'was born to be').

There are millions of hits in a Google search for << "was forced to be" -"was forced to be a" -"was forced to be the" -here >>. Some relevant ones in the first 50 are:

  • I was forced to be hospitalized at my uncle's hospital... [YouTube video]

  • He was forced to be rescued by firefighters. [The Northern Echo]

  • How would you mark a vehicle that was forced to be left standing... [Meteoria.co.il]

  • As someone who was forced to be given up ... [on Instagram]

  • An existing connection was forced to be terminated ... [Microsoft]

  • ... my phone number was forced to be changed [Google Community]

  • ... a family travelling from Syria, in transit from Amman to Casablanca, was forced to be repatriated to Syria [lingue.fr; europart.europa]

Some of these sound very clumsy to my (British) ears. 'He had to be rescued by firefighters' and 'How would you mark a vehicle that had to be left standing...' sound far more natural rewrites, and I'd say 'double' passivisation isn't the best way of handling all of these strings. The last example above, on the other hand, sounds both grammatical and idiomatic, so I'd say we're really looking at preferred styles here. Some examples sound far better than others.

Turning now to 'made to be V-ed': the default reading, not a paraphrase of 'forced to be V-ed' but of 'created to be V-ed', really adds another reason to avoid such usage. Obviously the usual sense is very unlikely in say 'They were made to be repatriated to Syria', but opting for 'forced' is still the far better choice.

'He was made to be punished' sounds most unnatural.

'He was punished' alone surely mandates an application of force (physical or otherwise), while

'They were forced/made/compelled to punish him' sounds more natural, referencing the compelling factors or agents involved.

  • Thank you, I knew the form: To be forced to be + past participle, and actually I have never come across the other type of construction. I am not a native speaker, however, and just out of curiosity, I was trying to translate from Italian into English a double passive structure using make/get/have... In accordance to the specific grammar rule, we should use To BE MADE + past participle, which is the result of the combination between To MAKE SMB DO and To HAVE SMB + past participle... Let' take it as a new proposal😉 Shall we?
    – Danilo
    Apr 28 at 11:21

Your question and examples are flawed.

For example: He was made to leave [by the police].

This sentence is in the causative - it is already passive. You cannot make a passive sentence "more passive".

What about passive make followed by passive verb?

For example: He was made to be punished.

"He was created [passive] {for the purpose of punishment/in order to be punished}."

  • All right, I perfectly see what you mean about the purpose clause, yet there is a difference in meaning between: I was made to bite smtg, and I was made bitten by some animal. Perhaps it is admitted the form to be made + past participle...
    – Danilo
    Apr 28 at 9:54
  • My apologies: I have corrected the answer.
    – Greybeard
    Apr 28 at 9:57

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