The Rare third passive use

One of the professors of English named Rama murthy announced 10 years ago that he had invented a rare third passive use.

He gave the following sentence for his analysis.

He gave her books

The passive forms are given below

  1. She was given books by him.

  2. Her books were given by him

  3. Books were given to her by him

    This works if the Indirect object is her and the direct object is a plural noun such as books

Do you accept that it is an invention ?
I have asked this question not because I believe that what the professor has claimed is correct but because I want to know how far he is right or wrong
I saw it in all leading English news papers in India.


Sentence 2 is not equivalent to the active-voice sentence.

In the active-voice sentence and in sentences 1 and 3, “her” is the female third-person singular objective-case personal pronoun. In sentence 2, “her” is the female third-person singular possessive pronoun. In sentence 2, “her books” is a single object, the direct object.

That becomes clearer when you switch the sexes of the persons involved.

  • She gave him books.
  • He was given books by her.
  • His books were given by her (to him or to another person). Note that *Him books were given by her doesn’t work.
  • Books were given to him by her.

There’s nothing rare about the passive-voice use in any of the passive-voice sentences.

Addendum The obfuscation works better for plural nouns as direct object, because of the article that only appears in the singular direct object singular without a possessive pronoun.

  • He gave her a book.
  • She was given a book by him.
  • Her book was given by him (to her or to another person). Note that *Her a book was given by him doesn’t work.
  • A book was given to her by him.

Source : Link , Question Author : successive suspension , Answer Author : Adhemar

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