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Sorry, a quick PS... another way of thinking of this ... low by flu' 'I remain green with pink spots'... DC

I was never saying that all uses of "remain" would indicate a use of the passive voice, and you say that the presence of the verb "to be" does not indicate it either.

Well, of course not, not in every single sbj + to be + obj clause. We teach the passive as working 'obj + to be + past participle of the main verb + (sometimes) compliment'. Your example is interesting, and if you want to say passives can be made with verbs other than 'to be' I'm sure the world won't collapse in ruins, although I wouldn't want to teach this.

However, there are classes of adjectives which either look like the past participle (usually ending -ed but with many irregulars like 'drunk') or are made with -ing, and I would suggest that the 'amused' in your example should be seen as an adjective. In the same way:-

'Flying monkeys are amusing'.
'I am amusing to flying monkeys'.
'We are not amused'.
It just so happens these adjectives are derived from verbs, but that they are adjectives can be tested by substituting some others in our examples:-
'Flying monkeys are funny'.
'I am incomprehensible to flying monkeys'.
'We are not Belgian'.
Alright... I am amused by flying monkeys. As opposed to: Flying monkeys amuse me. Is or is not the first sentence in the passive voice?

Yes, of course it is, no problemo. Here it makes a lot of sense to keep the agent in; what's important to the writer of the sentence is who is amused, so he/she has put it on the front, but we still care about what does the amusing, so we keep that in, but put it to the back. Where passives are an important part of writing, pace twits like our friend in Iowa, is where the agent is actually irrelevant, or the writer does not wish to specify it. So if a junior employee writes a report for his boss saying 'action should be taken on this' they both know the meaning is 'you should arrange for action to be taken on this' but the junior is being deferential.
In the bad old days of transformational grammar students did passive to active conversion exercises, and were sometime taught that the subject of the active sentence had to be tagged on the back as a 'by' clause. This lead to a lot of rubbish like:-
Active:- 'They asked me how I knew, my true love was true' becomes passive 'I was asked how I knew, (that) my true love was true, by them'.
I would argue that if you need a 'by' clause, the sentence probably shouldn't have been passive.
Doesn't the "by flying monkeys" pretty automatically identify the agent?

Yes, but the best way of using the passive is where we don't need to know the agent, or no real agent can be identified.
That is, doesn't the use of "by something" in conjunction with usually a form of "to be" and a gerund

Not a gerund, though this has been taken up downthread.

or participle indicate an agent which
has been turned into an indirect object through the use of the passive voice? Sentences containing "by" can fairly mechanically be turned around to be "different" even if one isn't actually making them "active" instead of "passive".

How do you do that to make another active sentence then?
I really do wish I had been taught this in school...

I don't think native speakers ever have been. But a lot of educators have a bee in their bonnet that passives are bad style; overused they are bad style; overused anything is. This is a particular preoccupation with the ** Word grammar checker, and to a certain extent also for academics with the facility to pontificate on grammar online without giving much thought to what they're writing.
There's a nice little animation showing active to passive transformation at

If people convince me that I am amused by flying monkeys. is not using the passive voice, my discussion will end up being about something quite different. And probably even more FAQworthy.

Well, no, it is a passive, I don't think anybody would dispute that. I can't imagine any argument to suggest that your example was anything other* than a bog standard passive. What's contentious is whether 'I *remain amused by flying monkeys' is a passive.
Do you get a lot of flying monkeys round your way then?

DC, apologies if this posts twice
I remain amused by flying monkeys.

Sorry, a quick PS... another way of thinking of this is that 'amused' is a past participle adjective, rather than passive voice (could we ever identify an agent doing the amusing? Probably not

How so ? It seems very straightforward to identify the agent doing the amusing in that particular case as the "flying monkeys". CV
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Doesn't the "by flying monkeys" pretty automatically identify the agent? ... an indirect object through the use of the passive voice?

I don't think passive voice can use a gerund, except "being" and "getting" as part of a continuous-tense construction: I ... assume, normally be so considered. Likewise "X gets Y (by Z)". "To be" is certainly not the only possible verb.

Part of the problem is that we have duelling definitions of "passive". Does it refer to the syntax or the semantics? Modern syntacticians talk about "passivization" in which the complement of a verb is made its subject. But there is a semantic sense to it as well. Consider the passive progressive:
(1) The house is being built.
Two hundred years ago the standard construction for this would have been
(2) The house is building.
This isn't grammatical in present-day English, but this is:

(3) The book is selling well.
This is an active construction, but clearly the volumes aren't selling themselves (at least not literally), they are being bought and sold. Then there is
(4) The storm is building.
Is that active or passive or something else?
So for Adrian's "I remain amused by flying monkeys" my take on it is that this isn't a passivized form in the syntactic sense, but I have no problem interpreting it as semantically passive.

But I am out of my depth here. I suggest Adrian taking this over to sci.lang and see what they say.
Richard R. Hershberger
Adrian Pepper wrote on 04 Aug 2004:
Alright... I am amused by flying monkeys. As opposed to: Flying monkeys amuse me. Is or is not the first sentence in the passive voice?

Yes.
Doesn't the "by flying monkeys" pretty automatically identify the agent? That is, doesn't the use of "by something" in conjunction ... or participle indicate an agent which has been turned into an indirect object through the use of the passive voice?

The subject becomes the agent in a passive construction, but it does not become the indirect object; rather, it becomes the object of a preposition in the "by+AGENT" PP:
John gave a flower to Mary. ==>
A flower was given to Mary by John.
"Mary" remains the indirect object and "John" moves from syntactic subject position to syntactic agent position.
Sentences containing "by" can fairly mechanically be turned around to be "different" even if one isn't actually making them "active" instead of "passive".

Can you give some examples of what you mean here? I don't understand the meaning of turning a passive around to something that is not active.
I really do wish I had been taught this in school... If people convince me that I am amused by flying monkeys. is not using the passive voice,

It is using the passive voice at least, it is using what traditionally is considered the passive voice. Other people with other definitions of passive voice might attempt to convince you that this is not the passive voice, but they would be making a fundamental error: changing terminological definitions in order to change terminology and thinking that something of substance had been accomplished.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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If people convince me that I am amused by flying ... being about something quite different. And probably even more FAQworthy.

Well, no, it is a passive, I don't think anybody would dispute that. I can't imagine any argument to suggest that your example was anything other* than a bog standard passive. What's contentious is whether 'I *remain amused by flying monkeys' is a passive.

Aren't we getting twisted knicker-wise here?
"I remain amused by AUE" (I think that's who the OP meant) isn't a passive sentence because it doesn't have a main verb in the passive.

The "past" participle of a transitive verb may be active or passive in sense. When used as an adjective rather than to form a finite verb, it's passive; but that doesn't in itself influence the voice of the verb in the sentence.
The linguistics art-form may impel pursuit of the topic into greater complexity, but isn't this simple summary all most practical users need to know?
Mike.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Well, of course not, not in every single sbj + to be + obj clause. We teach the passive as ... substituting some others in our examples:- 'Flying monkeys are funny'. 'I am incomprehensible to flying monkeys'. 'We are not Belgian'.

Alright... I am amused by flying monkeys. As opposed to: Flying monkeys amuse me. Is or is not the first sentence in the passive voice?

Yes, of course it is, no problemo. Here it makes a lot of sense to keep the agent in; what's ... sentence had to be tagged on the back as a 'by' clause. This lead to a lot of rubbish like:-

Personal oy before anybody else does: led.
DC
Well, no, it is a passive, I don't think anybody ... whether 'I remain amused by flying monkeys' is a passive.

Aren't we getting twisted knicker-wise here? "I remain amused by AUE" (I think that's who the OP meant) isn't ... pursuit of the topic into greater complexity, but isn't this simple summary all most practical users need to know? Mike.

Elegant and succinct Mike.
DC
Django Cat (Email Removed) wrote,
Well, of course not, not in every single sbj + to be + obj clause. We teach the passive as ... verbs other than 'to be' I'm sure the world won't collapse in ruins, although I wouldn't want to teach this.

Other people in the thread seem to agree that the following is passive:

'I got passed by a big truck'.
Would you say that is only because "got" in that case has very little different meaning from "was"?
However, there are classes of adjectives which either look like the past participle (usually ending -ed but with many irregulars ... and I would suggest that the 'amused' in your example should be seen as an adjective. In the same way:-

Aren't such things actually indistinguishable?
That is, aren't the words both verbs and adjectives at the same time?
'Flying monkeys are amusing'. 'I am amusing to flying monkeys'. 'We are not amused'. It just so happens these adjectives ... substituting some others in our examples:- 'Flying monkeys are funny'. 'I am incomprehensible to flying monkeys'. 'We are not Belgian'.

'Flying monkeys are amusing me'.
'I am amusing flying monkeys'.
'We are not amused by that'.
'I am incorrigible'.
A side issue related to assertions by our friend in Iowa.

'The sky is coloured blue'.
'The sky is considered blue'.
Those above two are passive, correct?
So is, or is not, the following passive? Active? Neither?

'The sky is blue'.
Can we not say that most, if not all adjectives, have an implied verb associated with the quality they describe?
Where passives are an important part of writing, pace twits like our friend in Iowa, is where the agent is ... know the meaning is 'you should arrange for action to be taken on this' but the junior is being deferential.

If you're preaching to me, you're preaching to the converted on that one. I don't remember saying the passive voice is a bad thing.
In the bad old days of transformational grammar students did passive to active conversion exercises, and were sometime taught that the subject of the active sentence had to be tagged on the back as a 'by' clause. This lead to a lot of rubbish like:-

Why were the days bad, in general? Is it bad for students to understand that the first way they phrase a sentence isn't necessarily the best way to phrase it, and give them a toolkit to help them improve pieces they are writing?
Sentences containing "by" can fairly mechanically be turned around to be "different" even if one isn't actually making them "active" instead of "passive".

How do you do that to make another active sentence then?

Well, I was speaking entirely hypothetically.
And I may have mistakenly at some point classified the agent as an indirect object.
It does not work with all usages of "by", of course.
I don't think native speakers ever have been. But a lot of educators have a bee in their bonnet that ... extent also for academics with the facility to pontificate on grammar online without giving much thought to what they're writing.

The substance of that paragraph should be included in the FAQ entry on "passive voice". I'll try emailing the apparent FAQ maintainer about the idea of a FAQ entry.
The ** Word grammar checker now makes that optional, and is more conservative even then. It's not fair to say the academics don't give much thought; likely they don't have sufficient background or reference materials. They give plenty of thought but don't draw sufficiently on collective experience. IMHO. Also, perhaps those in science, math and engineering look for and assume more absolute definition than is really possible. It's perhaps surprising, then, to see the page I found coming from an history department.
Is the issue covered at length in any of the popular paper grammar and style aids most, if not all, of which I have never read?
There's a nice little animation showing active to passive transformation at http://tinyurl.com/3ujws Do you get a lot of flying monkeys round your way then?

Not actually.
Adrian.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
CyberCypher (Email Removed) wrote, in article (Email Removed):
Adrian Pepper wrote on 04 Aug 2004:

Sentences containing "by" can fairly mechanically be turned around to be "different" even if one isn't actually making them "active" instead of "passive".

Can you give some examples of what you mean here? I don't understand the meaning of turning a passive around to something that is not active.

I think I meant, "even if they weren't considered passive in their original form".
I was speaking hypothetically, anticipating that my understanding was completely muddled.
Adrian.
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