FR: I was given a strict schedule

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by widdlywoddlywoo, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. widdlywoddlywoo New Member

    Hi, I'm trying to write in the passive voice using the verb 'donner' in the imperfect tense, I'm not sure if I've done it correctly.

    Here's my attempt:

    "j’étais donnée un emploi du temps strict par mes collègues"


    "j'étais me donnée un emploi du temps strict par mes collègues" (because it's donner à qqn)

    Also, I've added an agreement to donner because I'm female, is that correct?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Yendred Senior Member

    Français - France
    donner can't be used in the passive voice. If you really want to turn the sentence this way, you can use the following:
    Je me suis vu donner un emploi du temps strict par mes collègues
    (note that there is no agreement "vue" with this form).

    But this form is rather clumsy. You should simply say:
    On m'a donné un emploi du temps strict.
  3. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    As Yendred says, it's impossible to translate this type of passive directly into French.
    Only the direct object can be used as the subject of a passive sentence, i.e. "un emploi du temps strict" and not the indirect object "à moi".
    -> Un emploi du temps strict m'a été donné par mes collègues.
  4. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member


    Be careful, there are a lot of English verbs that can be put into the passive voice, while their French equivalent can't! In order to put a verb in the passive voice, it must be possible for the verb to take direct complements. For instance:

    Attaquer quelqu'un (direct complement) → J'ai été attaqué (I have been attacked) :tick:
    Parler à quelqu'un (indirect complement) → J'ai été parlé (I have been talked) :cross:

    In English, verbs like to tell or to give can be followed by direct complements. Those direct complements are often people : I told Jessica... I gave Andrew... Thus, you can perfectly say Jessica was told... or Andrew was given...

    On the other hand, the French equivalents to those verbs works differently. People are usually indirect complements, while direct complements are things, objects:

    ...Dire quelque chose (direct) à quelqu'un (indirect),
    ...Donner quelque chose (direct) à quelqu'un (indirect).

    Thus, you can use those verbs in the passive voice but only if it refers to the direct complement. For instance:

    J'ai donné une pomme à Andrew →Une pomme a été donnée à Andrew :tick: but definitely not Andrew a été donné une pomme :cross: because in French, Andrew is an indirect complement.

    When a verb can't be put into the passive voice, we usually use the neutral pronoun on : I was told, I was givenOn m'a dit, On m'a donné,... (= Someone told me, someone gave me).
  5. widdlywoddlywoo New Member

    Thank you everyone, your explanations have made it much clearer for me now.
  6. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    The form with on -- as in Yendred's on m'a donné un emploi du temps strict -- is generally a good solution to translate the passive voice.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't work everywhere. One possible reason for that is the presence of an "agent" -- here mes collègues --.
    The question to ask then is "is the agent really indispensable?"
    Note that, even in English, relatively few passive sentences include an agent.
  7. Marie3933

    Marie3933 Senior Member

    Dans l'affirmative, on peut employer la voix active :
    Mes collègues m'ont donné un emploi du temps strict.
    J'ai reçu de mes collègues un emploi du temps strict.

Share This Page