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Hello,

I've got some questions about passivazation and the use of indirect object.

Firstly, I met a sentence, Good care was taken of the children by Mary, which was indicated as acceptable in grammaticality. Its corresponding active voice sentence was Mary took good care of the children. I thought the passivization above is incorrect and the correct passive counterpart should be The Children were taken good care of by Mary. Which one is correct and why?

Secondly, I wonder if I gave her it is acceptable sentence. Specifically, I'd like to learn about uses of indirect and direct objects when both are pronouns and indirect precedes direct, such as Give me it, I gave him it and so on.

If someone helps me solve the problems, I would really appreciate that.
Comments  
Hello Duplicine,

Welcome to the forum!

The essential thing about the passive construction is that the subject of the verb (passively) receives the action, instead of (actively) performing it, and thus corresponds to the object of the active verb. In the sentence "Mary took good care of the children", the object of "took" is "good care" ("the children" is part of the adverbial phrase "of the children"): hence, strictly speaking, the passive should be the rather awkward "Good care was taken of the children by Mary".

If we take the words "took care of" together as a sort of compound verb, however, "the children" is transformed into object, allowing it to become subject in the passive: "The children were taken good care of by Mary".

So both sentences are defensible from a purely grammatical point of view, though I would agree that the second sounds more natural.

(Where there is a very close connection between the verbal action and a noun governed by a preposition, as in "Dr Chesterfield <i>paid</i> for <i>the ticket</i>", grammarians often call this noun the <b>prepositional object</b> of the verb.)

Regards,

Samuel
Sorry, that should have been Ducipline, not Duplicine!

Sam