Frame 101, Page 200 – Is there an easier way to distinguish between the action verbs and state verbs?

I can distinguish what is SVC clause and what is SVO clause, but I'm confused about how to know the clause pattern that can be written with a corresponding group of verbs.

ex)

caught, describe, dislike, expect, give, like, love
- These are SVO.

be, become, feel, grow, look, seem, smell, taste
- These are SVC.

Is there an easier way to distinguish between these two kinds of verbs?

ANSWER:

This is a good question.

Action verbs describe actions. They refer to something that can happen or something that someone or something can do. One way to tell whether a verb is an action verb is to ask if the verb refers to something that can happen or be done by someone.

State verbs describe an existing situation, condition or relationship. The verb doesn't describe something that is happening; rather, it refers to something that just exists and remains constant.

There are two ways to tell if a verb is a state verb. One way is to examine the verb complement. If the complement is providing additional information about the subject, then there's a good chance that the verb is a state verb.

Another way is to substitute the verb with the verb "be." If the sentence still makes sense, then the verb is a state verb.

Finally, it's possible for a verb to be used as both an action verb and state verb.

Let's try a few examples.

Example 1: We expect it to rain any moment now.

Question 1: Is "expect" something that you can do? - YES

Question 2: Does the part that follows the verb "expect" provide additional information about the subject "we"? - NO

Question 3: Would it make sense to substitute the "be" verb for "expect"? - NO

Based on the answers to these three questions, it should be clear that "expect" is an action verb.

Example 2: This tomato sauce tastes really good!

Question 1: Is "taste" something that you can do? - YES

Question 2: Does the part that follows the verb "expect" provide additional information about the subject "tomato sauce"? - YES

Question 3: Would it make sense to substitute the "be" verb for "taste"? - YES

Based on your answers to Question 2 and 3, you should be able to see that "taste" is a state verb in this example.

Example 3: You mustn't taste the tomato sauce when it's hot!

Question 1: Is "taste" something that you can do? - YES

Question 2: Does the part that follows the verb "taste" provide additional information about the subject "tomato sauce"? - NO

Question 3: Would it make sense to substitute the "be" verb for "taste"? - NO

In this case, it should be apparent that "taste" is used as an action verb.

I hope this helps.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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Frame 117, Page 168 – Which verbs can’t we write in the passive voice?

We use passive voice clause many times. But some verbs can't be used in the passive voice like 'resemble'. Why we can't use this word in the passive voice? And what other words are we not able to use in the passive voice?

ANSWER:

This is also a good question!

The passive voice requires a transitive verb, which is a verb with an object. The reason is the object is needed for the subject position of the passive voice clause.

That means that intransitive verbs, which are verbs that form the S+V clause pattern, cannot be written in the passive voice.

It also means that most state verbs, or verbs that form the S+V+C clause pattern, cannot be written in the passive voice, especially those that are followed by an adjective in the subject complement position.

"Resemble" is a state verb, and it has a subject complement rather than an object. This is the reason it cannot be written in the passive voice.

Having said that, there are some state verbs which can be written in the passive voice. However, these verbs have a noun or noun phrase in the subject complement position rather than an adjective, and they are not common.

I hope this helps.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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Frame 129, Page 144 – Can a passive sentence have both a direct object and indirect object?

We know that if we want to make a passive sentence, we should change the object of the original sentence to the subject. For example, this sentence, "I ate the sandwich," would become 'The sandwich was eaten by me."

But if a sentence has two objects, which object can be the subject in the passive sentence, for example, in this sentence: "His father taught him grammar." Are both objects possible?

ANSWER:

This is a smart question!

Yes, both the direct and indirect object may be used as the subject of a passive voice sentence.

His father taught him grammar.

In this example, where "him" is the indirect object and "grammar" is the direct object, it is possible to have both of the following:

He was taught grammar by his father.

Grammar was taught to him by his father.

I hope this answers your question.

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Professor iEnglish

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Frame 132, Page 138 – What part of speech is ‘stolen’?

"Someone reported the credit card stolen."

In this example, what part of speech is ‘stolen’?

ANSWER:

Another good question!

"Stolen" provides additional information about the noun "credit card." It is a modifier for "credit card."

I hope this answers your question.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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Frame 140, Page 122 – What is the subject in sentences that begin with ‘there’?

"There are many people." In this example, what is the subject? 'There or 'many people'? And if one is the subject, is the other a complement?

ANSWER:

Good! You are thinking carefully about what you are learning.

"There" is what we call a dummy subject when it is used in this way. It has no meaning, but it is required because an English sentence must have a word in the subject position at the beginning of the sentence to be grammatically correct.

"Many people" is what we call the logical subject. It does not function in the position of the subject at the start of the sentence grammatically, but it is still important in that subject-verb agreement occurs between the verb and the logical subject, rather than between the verb and the dummy subject, "there." That is why the verb in your example is "are" instead of "is."

I hope this helps.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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