Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Passive tense? Gross!

Terry Gross interviewed Benjamin Dreyer on Fresh Air today. And she referred, consistently, to “the passive tense.”

There is, of course, no such thing. Dreyer consistently said “voice.” But he was too tactful to make a correction. Should be have said something? Elaine and I debated this point while driving.

And Gross’s choice example of “the passive tense” — the “x, y, and z may occur” of pharmaceutical ads — has nothing passive about it. Occur is an intransitive verb. Can’t be passive.

A related post
Dreyer’s English

[My suggestion: Dreyer could have said something during the break, allowing Gross to self-correct when the interview restarted.]

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