I was reading some examples of relative pronouns on the website http://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/relative-pronouns/

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There is an example.

The store on the corner, where we usually buy all of our art supplies, burned to the ground.

How it can be correct ?. Shouldn't we use was before the burned, I think write sentence should be

The store on the corner, where we usually buy all of our art supplies,was burned to the ground.

I just want to be sure that second sentence is right, if not i must be missing something

  • 2
    burn can be transitive or intransitive. The store...burned to the ground is intransitive.
    – TimR
    Apr 17, 2017 at 19:14
  • @TRomano, Thanks for your comment ,I know the concept .(An intransitive verb does not have an object). But i still can't understand. Could you please explain it in more detail ?
    – beginner
    Apr 17, 2017 at 19:34
  • 1
    burn is a 'labile' verb: see this question Apr 17, 2017 at 19:42
  • 1
    (vi) to burn = to be on fire; (vt) to burn something = to set it on fire, or to cause it to become scorched or injured by high heat. The wood in the campfire will burn for several hours. The hot skillet handle burned his hand.
    – TimR
    Apr 17, 2017 at 20:29
  • 1
    The troublesome thing to me is why say usually buy and not usually bought. Apr 17, 2017 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


Burn and to be burned are valid verb/verb phrases. They have slightly different meanings but neither is ungrammatical. The relative pronoun where has nothing to do with the meaning.

The tree was burned to the ground.

This typically means someone/something set the tree on fire, and it stayed on fire until it became ashes.

The tree burned to the ground.

This means the tree caught on fire and stayed on fire until it became ashes. While someone could have set the tree on fire, that implication is not automatic with burn as opposed to was burned. If you have no idea who set something on fire or are trying not to lay blame this can also be used.

  • Thanks , Now I totally understand the concept. First sentence is passive voice . Where tree is the object and it was burned by someone. i.e Someone burned the tree.And second sentence is in active voice , And tree is the subject. its like Tree is performing the action.and we are using 2nd form of verb(Simple past). Like "He cried." , he smiled" , Here he is performing the action , "he" is the subject, So it is in active voice. So we don't need "was".
    – beginner
    Apr 18, 2017 at 10:47

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