+0
Are the sentences correct?

1. Bill saw the girls swim in the pool.

--> The girls were seen to swim in the pool by Bill.

2. Bill saw the girls swimming in the pool.

--> The girls were seen swimming in the pool by Bill.

3. Sam saw the girl bitten by a snake.

--> The girl was seen bitten by a snake by Bill.

To me, the third passive voice sounds strange. But how about:

People saw the girl bitten by a snake.

--> The girl was seen bitten by a snake.

Does it work?

Thanks for your time!!
1 2 3 4
Comments  (Page 2) 
Liat,
I find it amzazing that you still find this thread worthy of further discussion.

1. Bill saw the girls swim in the pool. OK This is completely gramamtical. Don't we agree?

2. The girls were seen to swim
in the pool [ by Bill ] I would consdiered this sentence as the "agentless passive"
and if "by bill" is written into the sentence as was in the oeiginal, then I think it sounded clumsy. If Bill needs to be identified as the person who saw the girl swim in the pool. Why don't we use the # 1 sentence which is more direct.

You said:
It is not logical to say the first sentence is correct but the second is grammatically wrong. It's not wrong, but clumsy as I said.

Therefore, I agree with CB that the second sentence is correct if there is nothing grammatically wrong with the first.

However, I would write "The girls were seen swimming in the pool [ by Bill ]." I'll say, this is clumsy! Sorry!
Goodman
If you bother to refer to English usage books, you will find sentences like the one being discussed.
To give you another example, many people are confused by "I saw a thief climb over the fence."  Why is 'saw' followed by 'climb'?
It becomes clearer why it is so if you change the sentence to the Passive Voice.
A thief was seen to climb over the fence. (This sentence may appear wrong, but it is not.)  Similarly, "I saw a thief climbing over the fence" becomes "A thief was seen climbing over the fence"  (the doer may be left out) when the sentence is in the Passive Voice.

Hence, I would like to repeat that what CB said is correct. If you accept "Bill saw the girls swim in the pool" is fine, then "The girls were seen to swim in the pool  [by Bill ] is also correct.
I wrote: "However, I would write "The girls were seen swimming in the pool [ by Bill ]." You wrote: I'll say, this is clumsy! Sorry!  My response: "I  would like to emphasise that the doer may be left out as indicated by the brackets.")
I beg to differ. The above sentence is in the Passive Voice. In the Active Voice, it becomes Bill saw the girls swimming in the pool.
You wrote: "Bill saw the girls swim in the pool. OK  This is complete gramamtical. Don't you agree?"
If you say that "The girls were seen swimming in the pool" is clumsy, then the above sentence is just as bad if not worse. 
It is as simple as that. I advise you to refer to English usage books before proceeding further in the discussion.    
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
AvangiWe sometimes have to read the teacher's mind. We've had examples lately in which student's were criticized by their teachers for not making their transformations reflect certain aspects of the original. The only difference between the originals in #1 and #2 is infinitive vs. participle.
The problem I see is that these sorts of transformations frequently end up in sentences that sound quite unnatural -- even though they are grammatically correct. As I see it, if a teacher is going to give students these sorts of transformations, it is the teacher's responsibility to ensure (in advance!) that the transformations are not only possible but also natural and logical.

As for the sentences about Bill seeing the girls swimming, I certainly hope the teacher made it clear that it is extremely unlikely that a native speaker would use one of those passive forms and then tack "by Bill" onto the end.

Avangi
hsiaoyunhAre the sentences correct?

1. Bill saw the girls swim in the pool.

--> The girls were seen to swim in the pool by Bill.

2. Bill saw the girls swimming in the pool.
AvangiThe only difference between the originals in #1 and #2 is infinitive vs. participle.
The meaning suggested in each of the original two sentences above is somewhat different. If the sentences are changed to the passive, that difference in meaning should be carried over.
Active sentence 1 suggests that Bill saw some sort of complete act. For example, perhaps the girls had previously been unable to swim, so they took swimming lessons. Perhaps Bill came one day to check their progress, and the girls illustrated their new skill by swimming from one side of the pool to the other. Bill watched this performance in its entirety. In other words, he saw them swim from one side of the pool to the other -- from start to finish, a complete act.
Active sentence 1 could also possibly be used to differentiate between types of activity. For example: Bill saw the girls swim, but he didn't see them float.

Active sentence 2 suggests that Bill saw an activity in progress, and it also suggests that he did not see that activity from start to finish. Instead, he only saw part of it.
Consider these two variations:

1. Bill saw the girls swim to the boat.
2. Bill saw the girls swimming to the boat.
In sentence 1, I would expect that Bill also saw the girls reach the boat. I would not assume that for sentence 2.

Hi Amy
I appreciate your detailed explanation.
I agree with the difference you pointed out. I think a lot of people don't know the difference. 
hsiaoyunh3. Sam saw the girl bitten by a snake.
To me, this sentence could easily mean this:

3a. Sam saw the girl who had been bitten by a snake.

In other words, first a snake bit the girl, and Sam saw her (the snakebite victim) afterwards. With this interpretation, an attempt to use the main verb (see) in the passive would have to be this:

=> The girl bitten by a snake was seen by Sam.

Possible context: Perhaps Sam is one of several doctors working in an emergency room at a hospital, and someone wants to say that the snakebite patient was taken care of by Sam (i.e. not by one of the other doctors).
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Liat,
I appreacite your reling on your grammar book a lot which is good for you. My question to you is,
are we communating in the same wave length? I understand the passive very well and thank you for the pointers. But somewhere we have a disconnect. My point was, some passive structure do not and should not include the agent. In the case of the subject sentence in discussion, "by Bill" is just that case. Are we clear now?
<<A thief was seen to climb over the fence. (This sentence may appear wrong, but it is not.) Why do you think it appeared wrong? It's perfectly gramamtical, however. infinitive does sound odd Similarly, "I saw a thief climbing over the fence" becomes "A thief was seen climbing over the fence" This is the same sentence structure as the one we debated on and I said the agent was not needed. Why are you arguing the same point if you said the same thing I said?? (the doer may be left out) when the sentence is in the Passive Voice.>> My learning had gone past this point years ago!!

<<If you say that "The girls were seen swimming in the pool" is clumsy, [No, I say if you include "By Bill" then it's clumsy. Without it, it's fine. then the above sentence is just as bad if not worse. >>>

<<It is as simple as that. I advise you to refer to English usage books before proceeding further in the discussion. >> This sounds like a repelling message but I assure you, the feeling is mutual
If I do need advice, it would be from someone more qualified.


My position continues to be, if a student is assigned to transform a given active voice sentence to passive voice, as much of the sentence should be preserved as is possible, absent instructions to the contrary. The arbitrary swapping of infinitives and participles and the omission of agents for aesthetic reasons should be avoided.

I don't think anyone denies that the passive voice is useful in eliminating the need to identify the agent.

There seem to be a lot of exercises around on transformations. If someone with experience writing these examples could enlighten me,
I'd be grateful. - A.
Hi Avangi
I agree with what you wrote. For the purpose of an exam, students need to know how to change sentences to the Passive Voice. However, the sentences may not sound natural.
If you want to know more about transformations, I think you should refer to English usage books which will provide you with what you need to know.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Goodman
I wrote: It is as simple as that. I advise you to refer to English usage books before proceeding further in the discussion. >> Your response: This sounds like a repelling message but I assure you, the feeling is mutual

If I do need advice, it would be from someone more qualified.
You don't seem to get the point. I didn't say that I would guide you. I didn't say I wanted to guide you. 
I asked you to refer to English usage books. Even native speakers quote from English usage books or some other English authorities, whereas you have very little confidence in such books.  You write what you think without any authoritative source. 
I have never faced opposition from other non-native speakers when I disagree with them and give my replies. In your case, you seem to disagree strongly when you think the replies of native speakers are wrong, in your opinion, again without authoritative source, but just by what you think is correct. 
Show more