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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Meaning of sentences

    Dear teachers,

    I'm glad to be back on the site and I wish you all a good academic year. I look forward to your collaboration and thank you in advance for all the help you will be providing me the days and months ahead.

    My first question is if you could tell me if the following sentences are correct. If yes, what do they mean ?


    a) I consider her to have been taken unfair advantage of. ??



    b) Advantage was believed to have been taken of John. ??



    c) We believe advantage to have been taken of John. ??



    Best regards,
    Hela

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Meaning of sentences

    Welcome back, Hela.



    Semantically, 'take advantage of' is synonymous with exploit and the euphemism seduce. Structurally, it's phrasal-like; a verb that takes a noun phrase as its object:

    [VPtake [NPadvantage of Max]]
    [VPtake [NP[ADJunfair [Nadvantage]] of Max]]

    In passive voice, the object of the preposition functions as the structural subject,

    Max took advantage of John.
    John was taken advantage of.

    Context
    A: I heard someone say John was taken advantage of? Is that true?
    B: Who was taken advantage of?
    A: I heard that John was. Do you know if it's true?

    If the culprit;e.g., Max, is unknown or the speaker feels uneasy about stating exactly who the culprit is, the "by" phrase is omitted; if the culprit is known, active voice is the norm.

    Let's get to your example sentences.

    a) I consider her to have been taken unfair advantage of.

    To rephase,
    => She's been exploited.
    => She's been seduced.
    => She's been taken unfair advantage of. (It's awkward, as is a) )


    b) Advantage was believed to have been taken of John.

    If 'take advantage of' functions as a phrasal verb (See [i] below), moving its object out of the phrase would alter the verb phrase's structural integrity and render the sentence ungrammatical, as in [ii]:

    [i] Active: [VPtake [NPadvantage [pp of Max]]]
    [ii] Passive: *advantage [VPwas taken [NP___ [PPof John]]

    It appears the object of the preposition is free to move, but not the object of the verb. The reason being, 'taken advantage of' is a set phrase.

    c) We believe advantage to have been taken of John.
    => See b) above.

  3. #3
    hela is offline Senior Member
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      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
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      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Tunisia
      • Current Location:
      • Tunisia
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    Default Re: Meaning of sentences

    Thank you Casiopea, as usual I'll study your explanations carefully.

    All the best,
    Hela

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