I've got a question about verb forms, which I found in my grammar exercise book today.
The question is to choose the more appropriate verb in the sentence.
(Remember to use definite and indefinite articles before most nouns.)
Firstly, 'a/the story tells' is the active form of the verb 'to tell' and needs a direct object. So, we might write:
"The story tells us about a time when..." - where 'us' is the direct object.
"The story is told of/about/that" is the passive form. We are actually saying:
"The story is told (by 'someone') of a time when.../ about a man who../that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
Note that there is no direct object.
In your sentence, we have either:
1. The story tells that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century
2. The story is told that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
In (1), the sentence does not have a direct object such as 'us'; as in:
"The story tells us that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
'is told' is the passive form and does not require a direct object, so we can say:
The story is told that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
( we 'understand' that the indirect object has been omitted, as in:)
The story is told by a contemporary historian that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
So, in your sentence, only 'is told' is appropriate.
- For Teachers