The man was seen <to be> punched

para siempre

Member
Korean - Korea
Hi guys.
I have a question.
I am wondering which way of changing the phrase into a passive voice form is correct.


I saw the man punched by another guy.

1. The man was seen punched by another guy.
2. The man was seen to be punched by another guy.

Thanks
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Why do you want to do this? What meaning are you trying to convey?

    The original sentence, with "punched" is hardly clear in its meaning, and contains so little information that if you put it into the passive voice to remove "I", it doesn't seem worth saying at all.
     

    para siempre

    Member
    Korean - Korea
    Perhaps this works: The man being punched by another guy was seen (by me).
    Thank you for your answer!

    :thumbsup: Which is why we generally don't use the passive voice, and prefer to use the active.
    Thank you for your answer!

    That's because in grammar books they don't tell about it.
    Normally, they take two examples.
    1. I saw the man run. > The man was seen to run.
    2. I saw the man running. > The man was seen running.
    but when a word of 'past participle' comes after 'the man', they don't explain how to change.
    Why do you want to do this? What meaning are you trying to convey?

    The original sentence, with "punched" is hardly clear in its meaning, and contains so little information that if you put it into the passive voice to remove "I", it doesn't seem worth saying at all.

    That's because in grammar books they don't tell about it.
    Normally, they take two examples. (I don't know how to explain this but the chapter talks about the way of chaning into a passive voice form phrases with verbs like see, hear, watch, smell and feel, related to the sense of our body.)
    1. I saw the man run. > The man was seen to run.
    2. I saw the man running. > The man was seen running.
    but when a word of 'past participle' comes after 'the man', they don't explain how to change.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Your examples are complicated by the fact that you're using a verb of perception (see, hear, feel etc) which takes on a second verb (in the infinitive or the present participial form). I don't think you usually use the past partiple on its own. I would add being: 'I saw the man being punched by another guy', so that the second clause is also in the passive. So the passive form for the first clause would be 'The man was seen being punched by another guy.' You have a double passive!
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I was about to say exactly the same thing as natkretep in #8.

    But there is another problem. Normally, when we take a simple active sentence, like "The dog stole my steak", and make it passive, the original object ("my steak") becomes the new subject, and the original subject either disappears ("My steak was stolen") or is added with the preposition "by" ("My steak was stolen by the dog").

    Your problem is that there is already a "by"-phrase, so "The man was seen being punched by another guy" fails to make clear whether the other guy did the punching or saw it happen. If we add the original subject "I" in the usual way (of course in its objective form "me"), then we get:

    The man was seen being punched by another guy by me.

    This looks really horrible because of the two adjacent "by"-phrases, but can almost be rescued by moving things around a bit:

    The man was seen by me being punched by another guy.

    I said "almost" because it's still not very satisfactory. If semantics did not make it impossible, this could be interpreted as "me being punched by another guy" being the original subject that did the seeing.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    The sentence "I saw the man punched by another guy" has two possible meanings, distinguishable in speech by different intonation:

    A. I saw the man who had been punched by another guy.
    B. I saw the man get punched by another guy.

    "The man was seen to get punched by another guy" does not really work as a passive.

    There are of course sentences in active voice that simply have no passive voice form, and, for that matter, I don't consider "The man was seen to run" to be "the passive voice form" of "I saw the man run."

    And I think it would make more sense to teach students to recognize different passive voice structures as they are actually used than to have them do exercises that supposedly convert active to passive.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is common to use a single passive in this sort of context, with verbs of perception.
    - He was seen/heard walking up the road.
    - I saw/heard him being attacked.
    As others have said, it usually sounds clumsy with two passives.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ... it would make more sense to teach students to recognize different passive voice structures as they are actually used than to have them do exercises that supposedly convert active to passive.
    Hear, hear! This sort of exercise treats language like a mathematical equation to be resolved by manipulating formulae. That is not how most native English speakers behave.

    (Conversely, there is a category of native speakers who systematically convert active into passive. Among these are bureaucrats who want to shirk responsibility. So they convert "I failed to report the accident" into "The accident was not reported". Do not imitate this!)
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi guys.
    I have a question.
    I am wondering which way of changing the phrase into a passive voice form is correct.


    I saw the man punched by another guy.

    1. The man was seen punched by another guy.
    2. The man was seen to be punched by another guy.

    Thanks
    Along the lines to what's already been said.

    Passive voice applies to clauses, not sentences. You have the passive relative clause the man punched by another guy which derives from the active another guy punched the man. The verb "seen" is in the main clause, and since the main clause is active ("I saw") with a direct object (the noun phrase with a relative clause), and you can turn the main clause passive.

    The man punched by another guy was seen by me

    Students are usually either told or left with the impression that "passive voice" applies to sentences, and that's where the trouble starts.
     
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