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  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner
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      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Aug 2014
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    face vs be faced with

    Hello all.
    I came across a sentence that says "North Koreans are faced with the daunting task of fitting into a completely different culture and struggle with issues such as the education system."

    However, with my understanding, either "are faced with" or "face"could be used in the sentence. (option 1: are faced with),(option 2 : face)

    Because not only "are faced with" seems to be appropriate in the sentence since N.koreans are not spontaneously facing the problems(so should be passive), but also I found "face" is pertinent when I paraphrase the sentence to an active voice:
    (I'll make it short for the convenience) "The problems face N.Koreans"'s the contradiction I facing...
    My problem is that problems can't face people. So this is a wrong sentence and it should be like "the problems are faced by N.koreans" and that is indicating the same meaning as option 2.
    Please help me out with understanding the difference difference between "be faced with" and "face"

    Thank you!
    Last edited by songgi89; 21-Aug-2014 at 13:24.

  2. probus's Avatar
    Key Member
    Retired English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • Canada
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      • Canada

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 3,555

    Re: face vs be faced with

    It is a question of voice: active versus passive. When you are faced with something, the usual implication is that you are purely passive. But when we say that somebody faces something we usually imply some degree of active confrontation on the part of the one doing the facing.

    That is the usual distinction but nevertheless, sometimes when you face something you may be quite unwilling to do so, in which case the meaning is the same as that of the passive voice. You have to judge and interpret these usages on the basis of context.

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