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English Grammar

Verbs not used in the passive

Not all verbs can have passive forms. Passive structures are not possible with intransitive verbs like die, cry or arrive, which cannot have objects.

  • He died yesterday. (passive)
  • The baby cried aloud. (passive)

Some transitive verbs, too, are seldom used in the passive. Most of these verbs refer to states, not actions. Examples are: have, lack, resemble, suit etc.

  • I have a house in the city. (BUT NOT A house is had by me.)
  • My shirt doesn't fit me. (BUT NOT I am not fitted by my shirt.)
  • You lack tact. (BUT NOT Tact is lacked by you.)
  • She resembles an angel. (BUT NOT An angel is resembled by her.)

Some prepositional verbs are mainly used in the active. Examples are: walk into, agree with.

  • We walked into the room. (BUT NOT The room was walked into by us.)
  • She agreed with me. (BUT NOT I was agreed with by her.)

Sections In This Article
Active and passive voice
Choice of passive structures
Passive verb forms
Verbs not used in the passive
Passives: agents
Passives: verbs with two objects
Passives: sentences with infinitive and clause objects
Passives: verbs with object and infinitive
Passives: object complements



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