Face <with> something

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RoxanneW

Member
Ukraine - Ukrainian & Russian
I wonder if it is correct to say both "face a problem/ face with the problem" and what difference might be there.

I found this in an online Cambridge dictionary:

B2 [ T ] If you face a problem, or a problem faces you, you have to deal with it:
This is one of the many problems faced by working mothers.
Passengers could face long delays.
Y
ou're faced with a very difficult choice there.

I used to think that only "face a choice" is possible. However, the last line proved me the opposite. Is there some kind of mistake? Can I use both with no difference in meaning?
Thanks!
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    You have misunderstood the grammar of the example sentence : it is a passive construction : « he is faced with a choice », as opposed to the more usual active construction « he faces a choice ».
    The answer to your question is that you can’t use « with » in your sentence unless you change it to a passive : to be faced with a problem
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't think it's passive because there can be no agent that does the facing.

    I think that in "you are faced with a choice/problem", this must be an adjectival (participle) phrase.

    We may say "They faced him with the problem, but I don't think that's the passive of "He is faced with a problem" - rather it it means that they "confronted him with the problem".
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    “You’re faced with a very difficult choice” can be turned around and expressed as “A very difficult choice faces you” (passive voice) – which can also be said in the active voice as “You face a very difficult choice”.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Yes, thanks lingo.:)

    A very difficult choice faces you. (active)
    You face a very difficult choice. (active)

    Both have the same meaning, and both are active.


    You're faced with a very difficult choice.
    (passive)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Something still bothers me about the fact that they are all interchangeable. Normally the object becomes subject of the passive sentence.

    You face a difficult choice.
    You are faced with a difficult choice.

    They are the same yet one is passive and the other active?

    You are faced with...=you are face to face with...



     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it’s just an unusual case in that either noun can be the subject. You can face the difficulty or the the difficulty can face you. Two active alternatives.

    This is not normally the case when changing a simple statement from active to passive, e.g.
    You eat an apple (active)
    An apple is eaten by you (passive)​
    But here The apple eats you is not an option!

    ————

    I just found a rather useful rule-of-thumb for the passive voice, boiling it down to requiring three basic elements:
    1. a past participle, (2) a form of the verb to be, (3) an implied “by”.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    The verb to face is symmetrical, like to meet or to fight. The subject and object can be reversed - only the perspective changes.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm sorry, but I'm still not getting it.

    I understand how these work:
    I faced a problem. (active)
    A problem was faced by me. (passive)

    I was faced with a difficult problem/choice. -
    I don't see that to be faced "with" something can be passive in the way that to be faced "by" something/someone is.

    I need to sleep on this.
     
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