dilluns, 1 de febrer de 2010

Passives (2)

As we said in the previous post, passive structures are very common and very useful in English. We can give the object more importance than the subject, or simply leave the subject out of the sentence as in the following example:
That letter should have been sent last week (by ...).

Today we would like to go over some more advanced/complicated examples.
1. In English we can move either the direct object or the indirect object to the front of a passive sentence. So the active statement, “They offered him the promotion” can be written in two ways:
The promotion was offered to him.
He was offered a promotion.

2. We can also have a passive construction “hidden” inside a sentence. Think of this statement: he likes it when people ask him for autographs.
The second part of the sentence has a subject (people) and object (him) and, so, we can make a passive here, after “he likes ...”, remembering that the most suitable form after the verb “like” is the gerund. We can imagine the following statement as an intermediate, but incorrect, step – he likes it when he being asked for autographs.
However, “being asked” functions now as the object of the verb “like", thus leaving us with the correct final version:
He likes being asked for autographs.

3. In Catalan people express general beliefs or opinions with sentences like “es creu que ell és el lladre”, or “se suposa que Lee Harvey Oswald va matar JFK”. In English to avoid explaining who believes this (people, obviously) we have to use passive sentences. We bring the “he” or “Lee Harvey Oswald” to the front of the sentence while the “people” who believe this move behind the verb, but can be, and are, left out of the final sentence. Let’s see. Originally we could say:
People think that he is the thief.
People suppose that Oswald killed JFK.

These become:
He is thought (by the people) to be the thief.
Oswald is supposed to have killed JFK.

Another alternative is to say:
It is thought that he is the thief.
It is supposed that Oswald killed JFK.

2 comentaris:

  1. Molt interessant i útil aquest apunt. Sempre va bé un recordatori. Gràcies

  2. thanks, espero que ajudi a qui pugui tenir dubtes de les estructures i perque els donem tanta importancia.