“Unwanted events happened”

“Unwanted events happened” couldn’t be an example for passive because there’s no objective in the sentence, it’s just like this example, “the child cried”, because “happen” is an intransitive verb.


Am I right?


As far as linguists and grammarians are concerned, you are correct that “Unwanted events happened” is not in the passive voice. (Your explanation is not quite right, however, since true passive-voice verbs don’t require the objective case, either: we say “I was robbed”, not *”Me was robbed”. And anyway, the distinction between the subjective and objective cases only applies to pronouns; “unwanted events” would have the same form either way.)

However, many English speakers have only an imprecise understanding of “passive voice”, and think that “passive” describes a sentence that conceals or de-emphasizes the agent. (They have probably misgeneralized from examples like “Mistakes were made”, where the passive voice is used for that purpose.) So I think it’s fair to say that the term “passive” now has two loosely-related meanings: a technical sense relating to syntax, and a non-technical sense relating to semantics and pragmatics.

Source : Link , Question Author : Hoshang , Answer Author : ruakh

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