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Thread: The passive

  1. #1
    GaŽlle1 is offline Newbie
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    The passive

    Hello,

    I have a question concerning the analysis of a passive sentence that I find tricky:

    "There was no thought given to a quick word about what might happen if they did not pass the bar exam."

    It first seemed to me that I was dealing with an extraposition of the subject "not thought" and that the non-extraposed clause was "No thought was given to a quick word about...". But then I realized that the structure was different from an extraposition.
    As it seems to me that we cannot say "There was given no thought to a quick word about" (but I am not a native so I can't be so sure, I may be mistaken), could the sentence to be analysed this way :

    There was [no thought [that was given to a quick word about what might happen if they did not pass the bar exam]].

    This would mean that there is an ellipsis of the relative pronoun "that" and of the auxiliary "be". This would also mean that "was" and "given" don't form one passive verbal phrase, but that "was " is an active verbal phrase and that "given" forms a passive verbal phrase together with the elided auxiliary "be" ; this verbal phrase would be the head of the relative clause "that was given to a quick word about what might happen if they did not pass the bar exam", which would postmodify the noun "thought".

    I hope this makes sense, I am not so sure it does. Does anyone thinks it is the correct analysis?

    Many thanks,
    GaŽlle

  2. #2
    Frank Antonson1 is offline Junior Member
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    Re: The passive

    The language of syntactic analysis that you are using is not what I am accustomed to. In Reed-Kellogg "There" would be considered an explitive, I believe, and be put up on a stand; and the sentence would read "No thought was given to....

    Probably this doesn't help you.

    Sorry.

  3. #3
    GaŽlle1 is offline Newbie
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    Re: The passive

    I am not familiar with Reed-Kellogg and have never heard of it at the university, but thank you very much for that!

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    Frank Antonson1 is offline Junior Member
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    Re: The passive

    It's American and VERY different from what the British-oriented English teachers use.

  5. #5
    GaŽlle1 is offline Newbie
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    Re: The passive

    I'll search information on it. Maybe our methods are different too in France, I don't know yet how they do in the UK.

  6. #6
    Frank Antonson1 is offline Junior Member
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    Re: The passive

    If you are really interested and your English is good enough, you might want to learn about it on my Youtube Channel "Frank's School". Look at the playlists.

    Good luck.

    Frank

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