'Talk about' in passive sentence

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Funambule

Senior Member
Dutch
Good afternoon,


1) People talk too easily about going to war.

Why doesn't this sentence allow passivisation?

*Going to war is too easily talked about. ?

This doesn't sound strange to me, but that doesn't mean much, for I'm Dutch.

I found out that 'going to war' is not felt to be the 'undergoer' and, therefore, passivisation is not possible.

2a) The subject is too easily talked about.
2b) Going to war is too easily talked about.

Why would 2b be incorrect when I find a lot of hits with 'it/the subject is talked about a lot' etc.

Thanks for your replies.

Funambule
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't think it is incorrect, Funambule.

    It's a bit awkward, but not ungrammatical.
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    1) People talk too easily about going to war.
    2a) The subject is too easily talked about.
    2b) Going to war is too easily talked about.

    Why would 2b be incorrect when I find a lot of hits with 'it/the subject is talked about a lot' etc.
    I assume the person who told you 2b was incorrect was thinking of 1 as an idiomatic expression. Idioms generally can't be rephrased in this way without losing their meaning, so 2b would seem incorrect even though it's grammatical.

    I interpret 1 as meaning "People are too willing to consider actually going to war" and 2b as meaning "It is too easy to discuss this subject".
     
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