China has developed vs. China has been developed

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JungKim, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. JungKim Senior Member

    I know "develop" is both a transitive and intransitive verb, depending on the context.
    A non-native speaker said, "China has been developed rapidly in recent years" and I wondered why she used the passive form when she could have said instead "China has developed rapidly in recent years".
    The former may have a slightly different meaning to it than the latter, the former indicating that China has been the object of the development. Notwithstanding such a difference, however, I would always go for the latter in this specific context.

    Any thoughts?
  2. eyeofhorus Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    The question here is not 'transitive vs. intransitive', but active vs. passive.
    Who/what is the agent that performed the verb?

    China has been developed rapidly (by another agent - i.e. that agent developed China, though who that agent is, I don't know. The Chinese people? China's leaders?...)
    China has developed rapidly (by itself)

    The second is more logical and natural.
  3. JungKim Senior Member

    The reason I mentioned "transitive/intransitive" is because I wanted to make it clear that theoretically "has been developed" is possible. I mean, an intransitive verb can't have a passive form no matter what.
    And I felt that the theoretically possible passive form sounded awkward in this specific context, so I wanted some confirmation.
    Thanks for your confirmation.
  4. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    In 'China has developed' the verb is intransitive and is active.
    In 'China has been developed' the verb is transitive and passive.

    'China has been developed' is an unlikely sentence because the implication is that the agent is external to China.
    We know that no external agency has been responsible for developing China, because that nation is so huge that no agency exists, or (realistically) could exist, with the capacity to transform China as a whole.

    We can imagine that a foreign nation or a foreign company could develop one part or aspect of China's economy, but not China as a whole.
  5. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    It sounds wrong with any kind of agent, in fact, even those that make good sense:

    :thumbsdown: China has developed itself rapidly.
    :thumbsdown: Timor-Leste has been developed rapidly (by foreign agencies) since independence.
  6. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    What is wrong with those sentences? Is it just that they sound unfamiliar?
  7. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    "China has been developed rapidly in recent years" is surely nothing more than a statement of fact, although it is not very specific. And of course the sentence is, (what's the mantra?), out of context.


    We can always speculate.... :rolleyes:

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