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  1. #1
    annajason is offline Newbie
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    past passive voice: how many auxiliaries and how many lexical verbs?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently trying to analyse the following sentence:

    "He had been blown away."

    In my analysis I have said that had is an auxiliary, and explained why, and that blown is a lexical verb, again giving an explanation.

    I'm just not quite sure for been. On the one hand, it is a participle and not a conjugated form, preceded by an auxiliary, which would make you think it's lexical. On the other hand, it make a passive with the lexical verb "blown" which makes me wonder if it would be an auxiliary after all.

    I'll be really grateful if someone can explain this to me!

    Thanks is advance

  2. #2
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: past passive voice: how many auxiliaries and how many lexical verbs?

    I think 'had been' functions as a single auxiliary as the past perfect conjugate of 'to be'. I mean, consider:

    He was blown away

    He had been blown away

    You'd accept that 'was' in the 1st sentence is an auxiliary so why wouldn't 'had been' be an auxiliary in the 2nd sentence? Nothing has changed other than the tense which is what an auxiliary adds.
    Last edited by bertietheblue; 23-May-2010 at 22:53.

  3. #3
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: past passive voice: how many auxiliaries and how many lexical verbs?

    I'd call them both auxiliary verbs. (had and been).
    Whether you have one two-word auxiliary or two auxiliary verbs is a matter of choice, but there are three verb forms, and only one is lexical.

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