“I have been married” Can it be understood as a passive voice?

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selfzhouxinrong

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello :)

"I have been married for 3 years." normally means I was married for 3 years.
"married" is an adjective to express a state.

Q1. Can it be understood as a passive voice?
"I have been married by a minister." Is it possible?

Q2. If it's possible, Is this sentence correct?
"I have been married by a minister for 3 years."(I think it's incorrect, but I can not sure) why?

Q2.If it's possible.
“I have been married”.
How do I distinguish that which meaning is this sentence?

Thanks ! :thank you:
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, married can function like an adjective. So yes, your first sentence means that you have held the 'married' status for 3 years.

    Be married can also be a passive construction. 'John has married Jane' --> 'Jane has been married to John'. 'Revd Smith has married John and Jane' --> 'John and Jane have been married by Revd Smith'.

    You cannot mix both so 'I have been married by a minister for 3 years' is incorrect. The context will tell you whether we are dealing with the transitive or intransitive marry.
     

    selfzhouxinrong

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    You cannot mix both so 'I have been married by a minister for 3 years' is incorrect. The context will tell you whether we are dealing with the transitive or intransitive marry.
    1. I have married(Although this is rarely used)
    2. I have been married for 3 year.
    3. John and Jane have been married by Revd Smith

    Are these three "married" different?
    1. It's a intransitive verb (as a Past Participle)
    2. It's an adjective (It isn't a past participle, is it? )
    3. It's a transitive verb (expressing passive voice as a Past Participle )

    Can I understand it this way?

    By the way,
    "He has been fired".
    Is this "fired" can only be understand in one way?
    as a transitive verb (expressing passive voice as a Past Participle )?

    Thank you :thank you:
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, the intransitive use is very unusual. (2) has 'married' as an adjective, and (3) is the passive form.

    I understand 'He has been fired' as a passive construction.
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    Just an extra FYI:

    3. John and Jane have been married by Revd Smith --> Just FYI, this is speaking of a *finished* action at an unknown time in the past. (passive voice) That's why (in one of your examples), you can't add how long. It's not a continuing action.

    2. I have been married for 3 years. --> Continuing action, you know how long. The past participle is functioning as an adjective.
     

    selfzhouxinrong

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Sorry, but the meanings are different; these two are not interchangeable.
    "I've been married for three years": I'm still married.
    "I was married for three years": I'm not married now.
    :thank you: :thank you:
    "I've been married" can imply : "I'm not married now."
    Why it becomes "I'm still married." by just adding "for three years"?
    Why this "three years" cannot express a period in the past?
    Thank you.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Have you ever been married?
    I have been married. This is the "have" of "I have had that experience." I have been to Paris.
    Have you ever been married for three years? :confused: No one would ask this question so this is "hypothetical grammar."
    No, but I was married for two years once.

    Are you married now?
    I have been married for three years. (From the time of the wedding three years ago until now.)
     

    selfzhouxinrong

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Have you ever been married for three years? :confused: No one would ask this question so this is "hypothetical grammar."
    I am not an English native speaker; I cannot find a way to understand what you understand. T_T...
    If in a fairy tale,the prince must find someone who was married for three years to save the princess,no matter this one is married or not now.
    The prince will ask all the people he meets,Can he say:"Have you ever been married for three years?"
    Thanks :thank you: :thank you:
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    A real language doesn't consist of all the sentences that are possible due to the "rules of grammar", but only sentences that native speakers of that language would say - sentences that exist in the world outside of grammar/linguistic texts. If the existence of your sentence depends on magic, science fiction, and time travel, it may not have a meaning that anyone would understand out of context.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If someone asked me whether I'd ever "been married for three years", I'd understand that they were asking me if I had ever been in a marriage that lasted for just three years. As others have said, it's a weird scenario. to be discussing.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Theoretically speaking, someone who's been married for ten years has been married for three years. (It's just that three years is part of that ten years.) It's just that when we say 'married for three years', we generally mean 'married for only three years'. In your fairy tale setting, I might understand 'married for three years' in the 'theoretical' sense that I mentioned.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    :thank you: :thank you:
    "I've been married" can imply : "I'm not married now."
    Why it becomes "I'm still married." by just adding "for three years"?
    Why this "three years" cannot express a period in the past?
    Thank you.
    Yes, these "three years" might be in the past. Depending on the context it might be well in the past, or barely in the past, or extend all the way up to the present.

    I have been married for three years and divorced for six.
    I have been married for three years but I lost my wife this morning.
    I have been married for three years and counting.

    I disagree with the notion that "have been married" necessarily implies "am still married". Being married and having been married are different ideas.
     

    selfzhouxinrong

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I might understand 'married for three years' in the 'theoretical' sense that I mentioned.
    You know some Chiese.

    In Chinese ,We have "了" [le] and "过" [guo]。
    1. "I have eat 了 bread." means "I have eaten bread just now" This is connected to the present. It's not long since I ate bread.
    2. "I have eat 过 bread." means "I ate bread in the past" We do not know the exact time, but usually there is a period of time until now. As long as you have eaten bread since birth, you can say so.

    "I have been married for three years" like case 1
    "I have been married" like case 2

    My confusion is that:
    in the present perfect tense, it sometimes means that past experience is connected to the present, and sometimes it means that past experience is not connected to the present.
    How can I tell what kind of situation? :thank you: :thank you:
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    My confusion is that:
    in the present perfect tense, it sometimes means that past experience is connected to the present, and sometimes it means that past experience is not connected to the present.
    Present perfect tense talks about a time period that continues to the present but that verb tense is used in 2 different ways:

    1. an action that covers that entire time period (up to the present)

    I have lived in New York for 5 years. (and I still do)

    2. to say how many events occurred during that time period (like 过).

    I have eaten breakfast already. (1 event)
    I have never graduated from college. (0 events)
    He has been arrested four times. (4 events)

    In case 2 each event doesn't continue to the present. The events occur during a time period that continues to the present.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    1 is 'I have already eaten some bread', and 2 is 'I have eaten bread before'.

    'I have been married for three years' is usually like 1: 'I have already been married for three years', but it can also mean 2: 'I have been married before - for three years'.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    My confusion is that:
    in the present perfect tense, it sometimes means that past experience is connected to the present, and sometimes it means that past experience is not connected to the present.
    How can I tell what kind of situation? :thank you: :thank you:
    It is not always possible to tell, especially from an isolated sentence.

    "I have lived in New York for 5 years" does not, by itself, say that the speaker still lives in New York. For one thing, we have to guess which part of the pre-present the 5 years in question belong to, and sometimes we jump to unwarranted conclusions. For example, if a person says "I have lived there in New York for 5 years", we tend to suspect the speaker does not live in New York now, but if the person says "here in New York" instead of "there in New York", we tend to suspect the speaker does live in New York now. But in reality, "here in New York" may not even be where the speaker is right now, let alone where the speaker happens to reside. It all depends on context, and lots of guessing.
     
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