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    #1

    Take someone aback

    Dear teachers
    What does " take someone aback" mean? I think it should be used just in passive form is it correct?
    Thanks alot.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Take someone aback

    When someone is 'taken aback' they are surprised (often in a negative way). I wouldn't say the active was wrong, but the passive is certainly more common. In the active, I think people would use some more graphic expression; 'the response really took the wind out of his sails/rocked him back on his heels/knocked the stuffing out of him/made him think twice...'

    b

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    #3

    Re: Take someone aback

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    When someone is 'taken aback' they are surprised (often in a negative way). I wouldn't say the active was wrong, but the passive is certainly more common. In the active, I think people would use some more graphic expression; 'the response really took the wind out of his sails/rocked him back on his heels/knocked the stuffing out of him/made him think twice...'

    b
    Dear Bobk
    You helped me alot
    Thanks alot

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    #4

    Re: Take someone aback

    You can't 'take someone aback', it doesn't quite work as active.
    He may be taken aback by something... but nobody 'took him aback'.


    not a teacher

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Take someone aback

    I've now had a look in the BNC, and found just one use of the active:
    1 CS5 W_non_ac_humanities_arts A B C it than many parts of the English countryside. The colonists had enough newspapers to take any visiting Englishman aback, and were developing industries fast enough to disturb the balance
    In contrast there are hundreds of instances of 'taken aback'.

    Read more here: British National Corpus (BYU-BNC)

    So, I reckon it's safe to say that you should avoid the active use.


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