The water in the lake was disappeared

English grammar and usage issues

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Lingo
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The water in the lake was disappeared

Unread post by Lingo » 16 Jan 2017, 11:18

Hi all,

It seems this forum hasn't seen any activity in a long time, so I wanted to get it going again. So here's a question for discussion:

How do you address this common error with the passive voice:

"When they diverted the rivers for irrigation, the water in the lake was disappeared."
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Lucy
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Re: The water in the lake was disappeared

Unread post by Lucy » 22 Jan 2017, 14:22

The verb disappear doesn't take an object. Eg you can't say "the magician disappeared the rabbit".

You can't say "they disappeared the water in the lake"; this makes the passive that you've quoted above incorrect.
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Re: The water in the lake was disappeared

Unread post by Lingo » 31 Jan 2017, 11:27

Hi Lucy

Thanks for the reply. Yes, you're right in saying that "they disappeared the water is incorrect", but what about "It was agreed that the group should divide the money"?

"Agree" also can't take an object, yet it can be used in the passive.

I often find that my students will try to use the passive in random ways, without really thinking about whether active or passive voice is more natural.

Have you had similar experiences?
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Re: The water in the lake was disappeared

Unread post by Lucy » 05 Feb 2017, 17:32

Interesting.

The word "that" introduces a new clause so the rule is not the same.
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Re: The water in the lake was disappeared

Unread post by Lingo » 05 Mar 2017, 11:05

Ah yes, good point. The subordinator "that" introduces a new clause, you're right.

I think your earlier explanation of the passive is correct if we consider the direct object as the "goal" of the sentence. If the verb cannot act on a goal, it cannot be used in the passive voice.

For example, "I came to school" is acceptable but not "I was come to school" (intransitive "came" doesn't take a direct object and does not act on a goal). You can't say, for instance, "I came a school".

Similarly, "I was brought to school" is acceptable but not "I brought to school". Here, there is no "object" as such, but "I" is the goal (the "done-to") in subject position.
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Re: The water in the lake was disappeared

Unread post by Lucy » 05 Mar 2017, 15:58

Hi Lingo,

Really interesting exchange. Thanks for this!
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Mrdaudiqbal
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Re: The water in the lake was disappeared

Unread post by Mrdaudiqbal » 29 Jul 2019, 15:12

Very helpful
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