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  1. Junior Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2014
    • Posts: 85

    "taste" and "smell"

    We always use "taste" and "smell" like the below:
    1. This dish tastes so delicious.
    2. The food smells terrible.
    With the sentences, "taste" and "smell" here both work as a copula. Of course, neither could be used in passive voice.
    I think of situations where "taste" and "smell" might be used in passive voice. But it is just my imagination. So I'd like you to check it out whether my imagination comes ture:
    3. He tasted that cake.
    Passive voice: That cake was tasted by him.
    4. That girl is smelling the rose.
    Passive voice: The rose is being smelt by that girl.
    Thank you for your help.
    Last edited by xxwzs; 20-Feb-2015 at 16:08. Reason: Missing word

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,449

    Re: "taste" and "smell"

    Your passive versions are correct, but unnatural: people don't talk like that in real life.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983

    Re: "taste" and "smell"

    As you have discovered, verbs of sensing are not always copulas. They sometimes act as action verbs.

    My dog smells bad. (He has an odor -- copula.)
    My dog smells badly. (He has a nose problem -- not a copula).

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