+0
Hi

I'd like to ask you about the passive voice.

1. People believe that the president was very shy as a child. The president is believed to have been very shy as a child. I'M WONDERING WHEN I CAN USE HAD BEEN?

2. People believed that the president was very shy as a child. CAN I WRITE "The president had been believed to be very shy as a child" Can I use "had been" ???

How about this one: People thought he was a good candidate for the position. Can I write: He had been thought to be ........

Thanks
1 2
Comments  
Those are quite awkward to my ear.

If you want to say he "had been" believed, it implies that something has changed. People no longer believe this. It might be best to use a structure like "For years, it has been widely believed that he was quite shy, but then in 2002, a review of his medical records-which had recently been made public-showed that he had a speech impediment, and it was that, not an inherently shy nature, that kept him from actively interacting with his peers and teacher."

It's a far-fetched example. Even then, it's not necessary. "He was believed to have been quite shy, until... (showing what changed)" would work just fine.

Even in your first example, The president is believed to have been shy can be It's believed the presend was shy.

Note that in this type of active/passive construction, it's not the president who was the object of the original, but the belief about the president. A true passive conversion would be That the president was shy is believed by people -- but you can see that's not every elegant.
Hi

So when, actually, can I use the past perfect in the passive.

Could you give me an example in the active form and then in the passive using "had been"?

thanks
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
The President had been sick during the months leading to that meeting.

The President had been seen numerous times in the company of an interesting lady and still continued to do it around the time of our interview.
The waiter had just taken their orders when the lights went out in the resaurant.
Their orders had just been taken (by the waiter) when the lights went out.

She had put the watch on the window sill before she realized the window was open.
The watch had been put on the window sill before it was realized that the window was open.

Edited to fix the typo.
Grammar Geek
She had put the watch on the window sill before she realized the window was open.
The watch has had <typo fixed> been put on the window sill before it was realized that the window was open.

Hi

In the first example you used the past perfect tense: She had put....

In the second example you used the present perfect tense: The watch has been...

I thought that when you use the given tense in the active form you should also use the same tense in the passive form, i.e. The watch had been put .....

However, I understand that it's not always like this.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
My typo - sorry, it was a bad time to make one.
Grammar Geek"For years, it has been widely believed that he was quite shy, but then in 2002, a review of his medical records-which had recently been made public-showed that he had a speech impediment, and it was that, not an inherently shy nature, that kept him from actively interacting with his peers and teacher."
Hi GG,
you meant "had" there, right? Emotion: smile
God, two of them in the same thread? I'll go shoot myself now.

Yes, thanks, good catch.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more