widely blamed / blamed widely (adverb + passive)

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djom

Member
España, español y catalán
Hi,

This is a sentence in one of these keyword transformations's exercices of a CAE book

- Many people have blamed the hot weather for the rise in petty crime.
WIDELY
Answer: The hot weather has been widely blamed for the rise in petty crime

Why isn't the book accepting "...blamed widely" as a correct answer?

Thanks for your time!
 
  • gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Grammatically, your version is correct, but for some reason that I can't explain, "widely blamed" is the only order that sounds natural here. It's probably just a matter of convention.
     

    djom

    Member
    España, español y catalán
    You are right, but there should be a reason why...
    I have looked it up and it may be because "widely" is considered an adverb of degree/intensifier, which always go before the word they qualify. like very, really, etc.
    What do you think?
     

    Beti Bildots

    Member
    Castellano - España
    So that we are sure the adverb affects the verb and not the complement, and also because it acts as an adjective, so it has to go before whatever it modifies. We don't say "it's a day rainy", do we?

    Knowledge has been widely spread / across the world.
    Knowledge has been spread / widely across the world.

    It may seem the same, but it's not.
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    You are right, but there should be a reason why...
    I have looked it up and it may be because "widely" is considered an adverb of degree/intensifier, which always go before the word they qualify. like very, really, etc.
    What do you think?
    I don't think there is any logical or grammatical reason. Similarly, we always say "black and white" and never say "white and black." No reason other than convention.

    Knowledge has been widely spread / across the world.
    Knowledge has been spread / widely across the world.

    It may seem the same, but it's not.
    I disagree. Those two sentences are exactly the same. In fact, both sound fine to me. In the OP's context, however, we have "widely blamed," which is always said in that order.
     

    djom

    Member
    España, español y catalán
    In these Cambridge books, one is always given all the possible answers. So if there is only one, there must be something behind it!
    What a mistery!

    ;)
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    In these Cambridge books, one is always given all the possible answers. So if there is only one, there must be something behind it!
    What a mystery!
    As I said, only "widely blamed" sounds natural, so I would say that that is indeed the only possible answer. And I still think that the "reason" is just convention, which often plays a part in how we say things.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    You are right, but there should be a reason why...
    I have looked it up and it may be because "widely" is considered an adverb of degree/intensifier, which always go before the word they qualify. like very, really, etc.
    What do you think?
    I would say it is like an adverb of degree, even though it carries more meaning. It is certainly not meant here as an adverb of manner.

    If we put "widely" after "blamed", it seems to be "trying" to describe the blame. In the original word order, "widely" does not describe the blame at all but the extent of the people who do it. However, it does not describe the number of such people, like "many" in the other sentence. It means something more like "by people in many places", "by many kinds of people", or "by people from many walks of life".
    So that we are sure the adverb affects the verb and not the complement, and also because it acts as an adjective, so it has to go before whatever it modifies. We don't say "it's a day rainy", do we?

    Knowledge has been widely spread / across the world.
    Knowledge has been spread / widely across the world.

    It may seem the same, but it's not.
    Widely is an adverb, not an adjective, but it does work best before what it modifies.

    These two sentences could mean the same thing, but their most likely meanings are a little different.

    The first (with "widely spread") could have a rather figurative meaning, with the meaning of "widely" as in the sentence with "widely blamed".
    The second sentence (with "widely across") might be interpreted with "widely" modifying "across".
    Both sentences might be interpreted with "widely" modifying "spread".
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish/AE
    Hi,

    This is a sentence in one of these keyword transformations's exercices of a CAE book

    - Many people have blamed the hot weather for the rise in petty crime.
    WIDELY
    Answer: The hot weather has been widely blamed for the rise in petty crime

    Why isn't the book accepting "...blamed widely" as a correct answer?

    Thanks for your time!
    Adverbs are adjuncts, which means that they can be omitted, so you can say "the hot weather has been blamed for the rise in petty crime." What that means is that adverbs are not arguments of the verb (adverbs are not needed to complete the basic meaning of the verb). In your sentence, "for the rise in petty crime" is an argument (a "prepositional complement"), and as such, it naturally comes immediately after the verb "blamed." A basic syntactic principle is that nothing should come between the verb and its argument. Now, as to the adverb placement. There are basically two types of adverbs: predicate modifiers and propositional modifiers. "Predicate modifiers" modify the verb and are placed to the left of the verb as in your example: has been widely blamed (they can also appear at the end of the clause/sentence.) "Propositional modifiers" modify an entire proposition/clause/sentence and they can appear, for example, at the start of a sentence. The difference between an adverb that is a "predicate modifier" and an adverb that is a "propositional modifier" is semantic; it depends on meaning. Could we say, Widely, the hot weather has been blamed for the rise in petty crime? To me, it sounds a bit forced, because "widely" modifies the verb "blamed" and not the entire sentence. Notice the difference if we use "apparently" instead of "widely:" Apparently, the hot weather has been blamed for the rise in petty crime. That works, because "apparently" is a propositional modifier. So, I think that's the answer (or, one way to look at why you don't say "blamed widely"): 1. this adverb can't come between the verb "blamed" and its complement; 2. "widely" is a predicate modifier, and it is placed to the left of the verb.
     
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