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Thread: Passive...

  1. #1
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    Default Passive...

    Hi, teachers...

    I'd like to know the position of 'by + actor' in passive sentences.

    1) The car had been bought before by her.
    2) The car had been bought by her before.
    3) English is spoken in Canada by them.
    4) English is spoken by them in Canada.

    Is there any rule connected with position of actor in passive sentences?

    Best regards...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Passive...

    Quote Originally Posted by nautes20
    Hi, teachers...

    I'd like to know the position of 'by + actor' in passive sentences.

    1) The car had been bought before by her.
    2) The car had been bought by her before.
    3) English is spoken in Canada by them.
    4) English is spoken by them in Canada.

    Is there any rule connected with position of actor in passive sentences?

    Best regards...
    I'm not sure, but 2) and 4) sound more natural to me than do 1) and 3). This is just a guess at this point, but maybe it has to do with noun phrases (i.e., categories germane to the verb) having precedence over adverbial phrases (i.e., categories that function as modification)? With passive structures, the logical subject is not required, but that's not to say it's non-sequential. If the subject is mentioned, then it should be within closer proximity to the verb than any modifiers. If, however, the modification is more important than the logical subject, then placing the logical subject further away from the verb has its perks. 3) expresses that "in Canada" is more important than "by them". To me, both 3) and 1) are possible, but not as prominent as 2) and 4). It all boils down to what's more important, the logical subject or the modification?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Passive...

    Fine explanation, Casi. To me the structures of all four are so awkward, though, that none of them sound/s very good. Especially with 3 and 4, the agent is terribly uncalled-for. I can imagine the only rule as being 'do not include the agent'! Pronouns by their nature are unstressed beings.

  4. #4
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    Default Thanks for your fine explanations!!!

    ....

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