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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Hello.
    Could you please tell me if the pattern below is correct?

    1. listen to + object + past participle (with a passive meaning)
    1) I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    The passive is very unnatural there.

    I listened to Tom tell a funny joke. (Note that this sounds as if he was telling it to other people and you were just listening in.)
    Tom told me a funny joke. (Tom was specifically speaking to you.)

    It's really only necessary to specify that the joke was funny if the listener might think that the opposite is more likely. You can just use "tell a joke" otherwise. We'll assume it was funny.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Both the joke teller and the listener always hope the joke will be funny.
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    #4

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Chu View Post
    Hello.
    Could you please tell me if the pattern below is correct?

    1. listen to + object + past participle (with a passive meaning)
    1) I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.
    Is that an exercise to change active voice to passive voice? If not, we don't normally use the passive form unless there is a reason to.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

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    #5

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Chu View Post
    Could you please tell me if the pattern below is correct?

    1. listen to + object + past participle (with a passive meaning)
    1) I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.
    I don't understand (1) as being related to I listened to Tom tell a funny joke.

    I read (1) as being equivalent to I listened to a funny joke (that is/was) told by Tom/I listened to a funny joke that Tom tells/told.

    For the passive of I listened to Tom tell a funny joke, you need a passive auxiliary: I listened to a funny joke be/get told by Tom.

    That sounds really awkward to me; however, it is possible to think of examples that sound tolerable:

    He listened to the new president get sworn in.
    You can listen to the word be pronounced.

  6. Member
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    #6

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Chu View Post
    Hello.
    Could you please tell me if the pattern below is correct?

    1. listen to + object + past participle (with a passive meaning)
    1) I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.
    I listened to [a funny joke told by Tom].

    Yes: the underlined expression is a past participial clause functioning as a modifier in noun phrase structure.

    It is semantically similar to a relative clause, cf. a funny joke that was told by Tom.

    Past participials as modifiers in noun phrase structure are analysed as bare passives by virtue of the admissibility of a by phrase.
    Last edited by PaulMatthews; 22-Oct-2020 at 15:05.

  7. Phaedrus's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    It is semantically similar to a relative clause, cf. a funny joke that was told by Tom.
    That is my interpretation, too (see Post #5).

    Unfortunately, the OP seems to have intended I listened to a funny joke told by Tom to be interpreted as the passive of I listened to Tom tell a funny joke.

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    That is my interpretation, too (see Post #5).

    Unfortunately, the OP seems to have intended I listened to a funny joke told by Tom to be interpreted as the passive of I listened to Tom tell a funny joke.
    If that's the case, AliceChu, you need to know that the (extremely unnatural) passive of "I listened to Tom tell a funny joke" is "A funny joke told by Tom was listened to by me". Please don't ever use that construction in real life!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. Phaedrus's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If that's the case, AliceChu, you need to know that the (extremely unnatural) passive of "I listened to Tom tell a funny joke" is "A funny joke told by Tom was listened to by me". Please don't ever use that construction in real life!
    What I meant, technically, was that the OP seems to have intended the phrasal complement of "listened" ("a funny joke told by Tom") to be interpreted as the passive of what would be the active correlate of that phrasal complement: "Tom tell a funny joke" ("I listened to [Tom tell a funny joke]").

    As I understand Alice Chu's question here, which is similar to two or three other threads that she has started in the last day, "listened to" is not the verb to be passivized, and "I" (the sentence subject) is outside the scope of the phrase to be passivized.

    She needs an auxiliary: "be" or "get" (see Post #5).

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    #10

    Re: I listened to a funny joke told by Tom.

    I would say:

    Tom told a funny joke.

    The following is a made up dialogue.

    Ron: Tom told a funny joke.
    Liz: Who is Tom?
    Ron: He's the guy who told the funny joke.
    Liz: Very funny!
    Ron: Do you want to hear it?
    Liz: Yes. Tell me the joke.
    Ron: OK. A gorilla goes into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender charges him $10 for a beer. After a bit the bartender says, "We don't get many gorillas in here." The gorilla says, "It's no wonder with what you charge for beer."
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