This multiple-choice question appeared in an exam:

Change the voice active /passive: Do not disturb me.

A. Let me not be disturbed.
B. Let I not be disturbed.
C. Let disturb me not.
D. Let not disturb me.

Some are saying the answer should be A, while some are saying the answer should be B. I know C and D can never be the answer to this. I think A is correct.

Can someone give an answer with explanation?

  • @sumelic on your request I've added two more options however they can never be answer to this. – Heisenberg Dec 1 '16 at 4:15
  • @user109256 I've just inserted the missing 'b' in option A. – BoldBen Dec 1 '16 at 5:07
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    Meanwhile... May I say the need to passivize "do not disturb" seems like a complete and utter waste of time, and a pointless exercise. The answers sound stuffy and ridiculously antiquated. No Englishman or American speaks like this today. I'm not blaming the OP but the exam format and whoever compiled it. – Mari-Lou A Dec 1 '16 at 5:08
  • Come to think of it, there is a slightly more idiomatic but just as polite equivalent I wish not to be disturbed but it still sounds fairly old fashioned. – Mari-Lou A Dec 1 '16 at 5:24
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    We can pick the right answer because three of the alternatives are ungrammatical, but I'm reluctant to actually say that the remaining choice is the result of passivizing the original. – snailplane Dec 1 '16 at 6:16

The process of elimination leaves me with answer A.

Do not disturb me in the passive voice becomes Let me not be disturbed. Here's why.

When imperative sentences are changed to the passive form, they generally follow this rule:

Let + object + be + past participle

I is a subject pronoun. It cannot be used as an object. Me, on the other hand, is an object pronoun. Therefore, it makes sense only to use me after let and not I.

For more information, you could refer to this.

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The usage of let in this context sounds unusual. A more natural expression would be use be as an imperative (in this sentence, it appears as am):

I am not to be disturbed.

According to NGram, the expression not to be disturbed is quite widely used.

If somebody is already bothering you and you want them to stop, there is also a much more idiomatic expression:

Let me be.

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The correct answer is

Let am I not be disturbed.

As the sentence is of simple present

The first line will go 1.I am disturbed. I am not disturbe. Am I disturbed? Am I not disturbed? Using let.. Let am I not be disturbed.

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