drive easily?

akkii

Senior Member
Japanese
An English dictionary in Japan gives three sentences as somthing like passive.

1. This car drives easily.

2. This car drove easily.

3. This book can't sell.


The dictionary says 1. is OK but the other two are no good. It seems to me all these are wrong. Can you agree to my opinion?
 
  • akkii

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Why are they wrong? They are normal sentences.

    Are they mis-matched with the meaning? What is the meaning?
    The dictionary simply said 2 and 3 are wrong. I think 2means "It was easy to drive this car." and 3 means " It can never happen this book will sell." or, "It is impossible to sell this book for some reason."
    Am I correct?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    These are all correct sentences in English. But they are not passive sentences. They are a different construction.

    I didn't know the name of that construction, but I found the term "middle construction". That is a sentence in between active and passive. Middle constructions are explained in this (English) website:

    GRIN - Middle Constructions in English

    According to the website:

    1) Middles require either a "marker" adverb like "well, slowly, quickly, easily" or a negative ("not") verb.

    2) "In Middle sentences mostly present tense is used, but it is also possible to use past tense or present perfect".

    Your examples:

    Active: I drive the car. I drove the car.
    Passive: The car is driven (by me). The car was driven (by me).
    Middle: The card drives well. The car drove well.

    Active: We (the bookstore staff) can't sell this book.
    Passive: This book can't be sold by us.
    Middle: This book can't sell. (can not sell)
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... 3. This book can't sell. ...

    I agree that 3 makes no sense.
    It makes complete sense to me. It sounds like what an agent or a publisher might tell an author who has just written a boring novel. "Won't sell" might be a bit better, but the use of "sell" in this structure is well-established.

    As for driving: "Anyone who has ever helmed a Concordia yawl will agree that she sails well, though you have to know how to handle a mizzen." Also, "my bicycle rides well." Again, a standard structure, though I didn't know it was called "middle tense." Live and learn!
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    An English dictionary in Japan gives three sentences...The dictionary says 1. is OK but the other two are no good.
    Please tell us the name of this "dictionary."
    As I mentioned in another one of your threads, this sounds more like a textbook than a dictionary.
    I, personally, have never seen a dictionary that provides incorrect sentences and mentions that they are no good,
    but maybe such a dictionary exists in Japan...
     

    akkii

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Please tell us the name of this "dictionary."
    As I mentioned in another one of your threads, this sounds more like a textbook than a dictionary.
    I, personally, have never seen a dictionary that provides incorrect sentences and mentions that they are no good,
    but maybe such a dictionary exists in Japan...
    "Genius" English Dictionary. I did not want to make a show of it, because it would just digrace the Japanese People. Really "Genius" with double quotation.
     

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