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    • Join Date: Jul 2011
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    #1

    Terrible punishments were promised him

    I was reading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, and I found this sentence:
    And terrible punishments were promised him, such as being locked up in the cellar with the rats for a week, if he even so much as dared to climb over the fence.
    I wonder how "punishments were promised him" is correct.
    Shouldn't it be "punishments were promised to him"?

    I learned this way:
    He gave me this pen.
    ->I was given this pen by him.
    ->This pen was given to me by him.

    Thank you!

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Terrible punishments were promised him

    Quote Originally Posted by angryinch View Post
    I was reading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, and I found this sentence:
    And terrible punishments were promised him, such as being locked up in the cellar with the rats for a week, if he even so much as dared to climb over the fence.
    I wonder how "punishments were promised him" is correct.
    Shouldn't it be "punishments were promised to him"?

    I learned this way:
    He gave me this pen.
    ->I was given this pen by him.
    ->This pen was given to me by him.

    Thank you!
    They are fine with or without "to".

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    #3

    Re: Terrible punishments were promised him

    Quote Originally Posted by angryinch View Post

    I learned this way:
    He gave me this pen.
    ->I was given this pen by him.
    ->This pen was given to me by him.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello,

    I believe that your teachers did a good job, and I should most respectfully suggest that you continue to use the "to" until you learn more English and then maybe you can start dropping the "to" in some cases.

    As bhaisahab told you, native speakers sometimes drop the "to." This often happens in passive sentences after certain verbs.

    (1) Here is an example from one expert's book:

    A car was given (to) me by my father.

    (2) Here are three examples from another expert:

    (a) The property was left her by her husband.
    (b) Justice shall be done everybody.
    (c) Had time been permitted him, he would have ....

    (3) My books listed some verbs that allow the "to" to be dropped in passive sentences. I have used these verbs in some sentences. Please remember: These are only my sentences. If they are wrong, I am to be blamed. They were not in the books that I checked.

    (a) Riches were promised me if I bought a lottery ticket.
    (b) A promotion at work was refused me because I am old and ugly.
    (c) Lies are often told us by the government.
    (d) $1,000 was offered me if I should tell a lie. Of course, I refused. I should not tell a lie even if $10,000 were offered me!
    (e) $500 is owed me by my so-called best friend, but I don't think that I will ever see the money again.
    (f) The information was secret, but it was quietly shown me by my manager's secretary.


    (4) Well, I think that you get the idea. When you read English, don't be astonished (surprised) if a "to" is missing. Native

    speakers often do this. If you are not sure about a particular sentence without "to," just post it here, and a native speaker will

    comment on it. Unfortunately, grammar books do not seem to comment very much on this matter. I cannot find a complete explanation.

    *****

    Some of the experts were:

    Michael Swan, Practical English Usage.
    L.G. Alexander, Longman English Grammar.
    Otto Jespersen, Essentials of English Grammar.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

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