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    • Join Date: Nov 2006
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    #1

    which is correct?

    dear teachers:
    which expression is right?
    1- the door is not able to close by him.
    2- the door is not able to be closed by him.
    please which one is the correct expression from grammer point of view?
    thank you all in advance.

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    #2

    Re: which is correct?

    Sentence 2 (with proper capitalization) is a correct passive voice sentence. The better choice would be:

    He is not able to close the door.

    The door is not the subject of this sentence. He is the subject. The passive voice can be a very useful device for making your writing more interesting, but this sentence should be in the active voice.

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    #3

    Re: which is correct?

    Both are incorrect.
    Be able to is not used in a passive sentence.

    The door cannot be closed by him.
    or he cannot close the door. If active and passive are both possible, active is better.

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #4

    Re: which is correct?

    I'll break the tie:

    1. The door is not able to close by him.
    2. The door is not able to be closed by him.

    Be able to (main verb be + adjective able + infinitive to) is a BE + adjective construct and so the adjective portion of that construct describes the structural subject:

    Active: He was not able ...
    Passive: The door was not able ...

    To be able means to have the power, skills, and knowledge to do something. Doors don't have power, skills, or knowledge, which is why your example sentences are incorrect. Try,

    Ex: The door couldn't be closed.
    Meaning, closing the door wasn't possible.

    _________________
    Correction
    grammar, not grammer


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 71
    #5

    Re: which is correct?

    +
    You can also say:
    '(He tried but) the door wouldn't close'
    if he tried but there was something wrong with the door.

  2. Gёггч's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jul 2007
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    #6

    Re: which is correct?

    Is it correct if i say:
    The door is so big that it can't be closed by him
    ???

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    #7

    Re: which is correct?

    Casiopea is (as always) correct. My initial reply was hasty.

    "The door is so big that it can't be closed by him," is just fine.

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #8

    Re: which is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner
    "The door is so big that it can't be closed by him," is just fine.
    Agreed.

    ___________________
    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    My initial reply was hasty.
    You are invited to join my club on hasty replies--I am the president.


    • Join Date: Nov 2006
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    #9

    Re: which is correct?

    first, i want to express my great appreciation for all of you.
    Casiopea, according to your point of view this sentence is not correct " The brakes were able to be fixed." because brakers doesn't have the power to do anything. now the question is: if this sentence isn't not correct, then why it is mentioned as an example in "American Heritage Dictionary" to identify the defination of "able to". please answer me because now i am confused because in the reference it was mentiond that it is wrong to use this expression in the passive form.
    please refer to this link
    able - Definitions from Dictionary.com
    thank you in advance.

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    #10

    Re: which is correct?

    The issue here is the phrase by him. In the sentence, The brakes were able to be fixed, the subject is the brakes (they have the potential to be fixed). If the sentence were, The brakes were able to be fixed by the mechanic, then the subject is still the brakes, although the meaning is the mechanic's ability to fix the brakes. Once you've introduced a person into the sentence, the ability must be his, not the brakes. For that reason, I recommend the sentence: The mechanic was able to fix the brakes.

    The passive voice is not necessarily incorrect in itself, but can often be difficult for readers to decode. Use it carefully.

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