I asked a question about passive voice “The attack happened” or “The attack was happened”

And the answer was:

We only use the passive for transitive verbs, ones with an object ... but it doesn't work for intransitive verbs like happen ...

But, I noticed some people use passive voice with intransitive verbs.

  • Police said the man was gone by the time cops arrived and officers didn’t find him nearby. The Suffolk Times

  • Later on, Polanski was sincerely made his apologies in public against Samantha and saying that he regretted what was happened before. The classical arts

  • The company's stock was fell as much as 14% on Thursday. Business Insider

Unless I the above are not a passive voice and I misunderstand it. When can we use intransitive verbs with passive voice?

  • 2
    gone is not passive/transitive but an adjective. was happened is an error; it should be had happened. was fell is an error; it should be had fallen or simply fell.
    – TimR
    Feb 25, 2017 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


No, we don't make a passive verb from an intransitive verb

. . . the man was gone . . .

Gone here functions as an adjective, not a past participle.

. . . what was happened . . .

Unfortunately, this is a grammatical error. As explained by Stangdon in the recent post, a passive sentence cannot be formed using an intransitive verb.

. . . was fell . . .

This is a two-in-one error. This verb to be is used to mark a progressive aspect and passive voice, which both require a participle form of verb. Another problem is that the author tries to make a passive construction using an intransitive verb.

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