(passive of) We find that they have taken drugs.

EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all,

Should the passive of "We find that they have taken drugs" be:

1. They are found to have taken drugs.
or
2. They are found taking drugs.

I think 1 is correct since 2 means "We find them taking drugs", i.e. They are in the process of taking drugs when we find them.

Is my interpretation correct? Many thanks!
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, it should be (1). 'Have taken drugs' is in the original sentence, and there is no reason to change it for the passivised version. And yes, (2) will have a different meaning, as you said.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    I think 1 is correct since 2 means "We find them taking drugs", i.e. They are in the process of taking drugs when we find them.

    Is my interpretation correct? Many thanks!
    Yes, that's also my primary reading of sentence 2.

    What you're doing is tricky. You're trying to turn the main clause and the object clause into passive -- which might not be necessary.
    My first thought was: "It was found that they have taken drugs."
    But I realized that this might not be completely correct. I think that this comes from the fact that "we find" is usually interpreted as 'we think' or 'we have the suspicion', i.e. something rather uncertain, but in the simple past it usually takes on the meaning of 'we came to realize', which expresses a higher level of certainty.

    So, turning the phrase "We find that..." into passive "It was found that..." results in a slight change in meaning. But using the present form "It is found that..." sounds seriously strange in this sentence. I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet.
     
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