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52 votes
Accepted

Is there such a thing as a future infinitive in English?

In tenses where we can't use auxiliary verbs, will is replaced by going to: John is said to be going to leave for good. However, most of the time we'd just use the present continuous, even though it'...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
23 votes
Accepted

Is “This room was slept in by Milton” grammatical even though ‘sleep’ is an intransitive verb?

ᴛʟᴅʀ: Yes, this construction is perfectly grammatical* in English, and perfectly common as well. There are subtle restrictions on it, however, so not all such transforms produce things that sound ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 136k
19 votes

Are there only active and passive voices in English?

If I throw a ball at someone; that is active. Correct. Throw a ball is an active predicate. If someone throws a ball at me - and it hits me in the face; that is passive. Incorrect. Throw a ball ...
John Lawler's user avatar
15 votes

"Wish" in the Passive

“He is wished to be here” is marginally grammatical, but in practise very unlikely. Although he may be cast in the “object” case with an infinitival complement (I wish him to ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
14 votes

Is there such a thing as a future infinitive in English?

Future Infinitives? I don’t mean to detract from the clarity and correctness of Peter Shor’s answer. You should use what he said to use here. I’d like to address the theoretical notion of “future ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 136k
11 votes
Accepted

Can the continuous form be combined with the passive voice?

The first site is wrong: He has been being treated for imbecility for almost twenty years and has not yet recovered his wits. In 2007 he had been being treated for imbecility for ten years and had ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Are there only active and passive voices in English?

I think it would be best to avoid trying to talk about meaning in terms of voice at all. It's confusing, like talking about time reference in terms of "tense", because people often use terms like "...
herisson's user avatar
  • 83.1k
9 votes

What's the reason for using the ‘passive voice’?

There are two styles of passive. We can have long passives which mention the agent: I was robbed by a clown. Or we can have short passives that don't tell us who the agent is at all: I was robbed. ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
8 votes

Is this passive voice misuse?

Ignore it. This is the outcome of rule creep: gradually escalating sound syntactical advice into a senseless grammatical "rule". Level 1: Overuse of the passive can definitely be a stylistic vice (...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
7 votes

"got engaged" vs. "became engaged"

This is the Get-Passive, a variant of the Be-Passive. The difference is explained in the link. Get is the inchoative form of be, so it already means come to be, or become; there's no difference. Both ...
John Lawler's user avatar
7 votes

Is "Let's get started" passive voice or not?

In the expression "Let's get started," started functions as a participial adjective. an adjective that is a participle in origin and form, such as burned, cutting, engaged. Consider the phrase ...
RaceYouAnytime's user avatar
7 votes

Is "Let's get started" passive voice or not?

Let's leave out the Let's, shall we? It just adds another idiom to contend with. Get started is a normal causative/inchoative use of get. Since get can be the causative/inchoative of either be or ...
John Lawler's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Passive voice in academic writing; why is it not recommended?

In any type of writing—academic or informal or anything in between—passive voice can be used. As was noted in the posted question, in a number of word processing programs any passive constructions are ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
7 votes

Is "entitled" a passive voice verb or adjective in "everyone is entitled to respect"?

There are two tests that an adjective should pass. First, modification by very and pretty. This test may not be applicable in all cases, but where variations in degree are possible, it's a pretty good ...
DW256's user avatar
  • 9,507
6 votes
Accepted

Isn't "to be mistaken" ambiguous?

The confusion arises from the vagaries of English vocabulary and from two similar syntactic forms. Forms first. Subject Copulative-verb Nominative-Complement A copulative (or linking) verb is a ...
deadrat's user avatar
  • 44.8k
6 votes

Passive voice in academic writing; why is it not recommended?

@SvenYarg's answer here and particularly his fuller one on the page linked to in the OP's question are a good analysis of when the active is to be preferred to the passive, and vice versa. Just a ...
Shoe's user avatar
  • 33.2k
6 votes
Accepted

"Focus on" or "be focused on": what're the nuances?

There is a reason that these active-voice and passive-voice constructions carry very similar meanings.  The verb to focus is ergative.  The lens focuses rays of light. Nothing else ...
Gary Botnovcan's user avatar
6 votes

Is this considered a passive voice misuse?

Do not slavishly follow the advice of grammar checkers. Even better, do not use them at all. There is nothing wrong with the occasional use of the passive voice.
Mick's user avatar
  • 9,420
5 votes
Accepted

Is it correct that only transitive verbs can have passive form?

The clear, prototype cases of Passive are all transitive verbs. The ball was kicked out of bounds by Harry. <= Harry kicked the ball out of bounds. She has been interviewed before. <= Someone ...
John Lawler's user avatar
5 votes

I have a question about active and passive voice

You’re exactly right that the sentence she looked young is no more passive than she was young. Sounds like somebody doesn’t know what a passive even is. This drives linguists mad, because the vulgar ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 136k
5 votes
Accepted

The process by which Middle English developed... or WAS developed?

The confusion between an intransitive verb (which doesn't have a passive form) and a transitive verb (which can be active or passive) is one that has been responsible for many incorrect passive-...
Michaelyus's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Past participle or adjective?

This claim, if it is as simple as it seems, is not supported by any major published modern academic grammar. Especially as concerns the perfect tense, linking verbs and the passive, it's hard to argue ...
DW256's user avatar
  • 9,507
4 votes

Phrasal verbs in the passive voice

While I agree with the critics that the original question is problematic because no reason is given to believe that the verb+preposition combinations of prepositional passives are actually phrasal ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 17.5k
4 votes

verb or adjective in "The blue page is *stapled* to the red page"?

It's easy. A participle is always being used as an adjective, since a "participle" is a verb which is being used as an adjective. You can tell participles, which are not adjectives but rather verbs, ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 17.5k
4 votes

Can someone be "chosen voluntarily"? Does it make sense to you?

When a study is done, it is designed to measure certain parameters. Subjects are chosen for studies based on their fitness for the study parameters. Technically, all subjects (for medical studies, ...
anongoodnurse's user avatar
4 votes

What's the reason for using the ‘passive voice’?

This is quite a broad question, but this depends on who you want to put the emphasis on, who is the subject of the sentence. Brian was defeated by John yesterday. The first noun you encounter, ...
Azami's user avatar
  • 1,208
4 votes

Isn't "to be mistaken" ambiguous?

It depends on the context When you say, "if I'm not mistaken..." I am going to conclude you mean "assuming I am not in error." This expression is very common in the native English vernacular of the ...
Lumberjack's user avatar
  • 4,696
4 votes

Present perfect continuous in passive voice

Management have been ignoring complaints/suggestions. If I were your student, I would argue the toss too. This is clearly an active voice because there is no form of BE+Past participle1 to indicate ...
Mohd Zulkanien Sarbini's user avatar
4 votes

Is it right to say "phone was rang"?

Today, was rang is considered a non-standard form since the accepted past participle of ring is rung. In earlier centuries, however, this was not always the case: June 5, was rang at the pariſh ...
KarlG's user avatar
  • 28.2k
4 votes

the use of "can be" in passive voice

There is no mystery. In a passive sentence the subject becomes the agent, which is often omitted. The problem can't be solved. (by anyone here) = No one here can solve the problem. The door can't be ...
Centaurus's user avatar
  • 50.2k

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