‘Hamlet’ is required reading for this course.

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brian&me

Senior Member
Chinese - China
‘Hamlet’ is required reading for this course.

This is a sample sentence from a Oxford dictionary. I wonder if it means this.

‘Hamlet’ is required to be read for this course.

That is to say that the ‘is required’ is passive voice in the original sentence.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It may be worth pointing out that "reading" is a noun here, so there is no passive construction in the original.
    The real meaning is that you are required to read Hamlet. They probably expect you to read it before the course begins.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, think of 'required' as 'compulsory'. This will contrast with optional readings. (A 'reading' is material - articles, chapters, books etc - to be read in relation to a course or module.)
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you all, teachers.

    Since we can say ‘this bike requires fixing’, which means ‘this bike requires to be fixed’, I wonder if we can also say this.

    ‘Hamlet’ requires reading for this course.



    &
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you all, teachers.

    Since we can say ‘this bike requires fixing’, which means ‘this bike requires to be fixed’, I wonder if we can also say this.

    ‘Hamlet’ requires reading for this course.



    &
    I'd say 'the bike needs fixing'. That passive is clumsy.

    I wouldn't monkey about with the phrase 'required reading'. There's no need to raise the question of who is doing the requiring, and either way it's not Hamlet.
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    The meanings seem very similar, though the grammar is different.

    The first is not passive. It has a noun phrase as complement of "be". The second example, however, is a passive construction, though it is not at all natural.
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I would call "required reading" a adjective clause and treat it as an adjective. Here is it modifying "list".

    Here is the required reading list:
    Hamlet
    King Lear
    To Kill a Mocking Bird
    Lord of the Flies
    etc.
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    It can hardly be a noun clause and a noun simultaneously. They are different categories.

    "Required reading" is a noun phrase consisting of the noun "reading" as head, with the verb "required" as modifier.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish/AE
    ‘Hamlet’ is required reading for this course.

    This is a sample sentence from a Oxford dictionary. I wonder if it means this.

    ‘Hamlet’ is required to be read for this course.

    That is to say that the ‘is required’ is passive voice in the original sentence.
    Yes, I agree "is required" is passive. We don't know who the "agent" is, but we can guess that it's a "teacher:"

    The teacher requires reading Hamlet for this course
    Hamlet is required reading (by the teacher) for this course


    But since "passive" applies to clauses, your version becomes a double passive.
    [Hamlet is required] [to be read for this course]
    two clauses, two passives; the second clause is called "passive infinitive."

    Some folks don't like double passives, mainly because there are simpler ways of saying the same thing. But that's another story.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Students are required to read 'Hamlet' - passive, with an imagined agent if you like: by the teacher.
    'Hamlet' is required reading - "required" modifies the noun. As billj says, "required reading" is a noun phrase, the complement of "is".
    There is no need to imagine an agent, "the teacher".

    Hamlet is required reading (by the teacher) for this course :confused: If you included the agent this would be ungrammatical.
     
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