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What is the semantic role of the subject in these two sentences, “They were summoned as witnesses” and “The proposal was approved”?

Is their role the person, place or thing that is performing an action or with passive verb construction is being acted upon?

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In a passive sentence, the "subject" is the person or thing that is being acted upon.

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olive bee 609What is the semantic role of the subject in these two sentences, “They were summoned as witnesses” and “The proposal was approved”?

In some systems of semantic analysis this is called the role of 'patient'.

For further details, see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thematic_relation

CJ