In one forum (dedicated to videogames) I have found somebody posted this message:

Somebody rumored that this armor has innate resistance to death and mind attack, but it is totally wrong [...]

Q1. What exactly this "somebody rumored" construction means?

Do I understand right, that this means "some person, no matter who is it exactly, made a rumor about..."?

I searched it and have found few more examples:

  • But I heard at hospital from Naveen-one of our classmate that somebody rumored; she was having an affair with someone in the school.

  • For somebody rumored to be on death's door, Camille looked awfully good to him.

  • I mean, jeez, phoningup somebody rumored to be in the Russian mob wasn'tto be taken lightly.

  • The only thing she learned was that, in east Mississippi, somebody rumored to be an enforcer for a boss in Memphis was punishing dealers who...

  • On that particular day in history somebody rumored to Purdy Parker that Darlene had called them all the Pasty Parkers.

  • It was impossible to tell what they were thinking, but they tried too hard, the way they might with somebody rumored to have cancer.

  • It was not a lot of time for somebody rumored to live in the neighborhood of seventy-eight years (on average).

  • For somebody rumored these past three years to be of failing health and undergoing dialysis, Carlos Agassi surprisingly looks, as they would say, fit.

Q2. Can I say in same manner - "somebody gossiped" or "somebody speculated" with same "overall meaning", but different "intonation" in it?

Q3. Also, is it possibly (just for my own curiosity) to create negative sentence with construction "anybody rumored", like "Come on, man, is there anybody rumored about this stuff nowadays? That stuff is so outdated, nobody cares about it anymore".?


1 Answer 1


Answer to Q1

The normal use of rumor as a verb in English is in passive constructions such as

This armor is rumored to have innate resistance to death and mind attack ...

In most of the examples you cite in your question (all but the first and fifth examples), "somebody rumored" is being used as a telescoped form of "somebody [who is/was] rumored"; if you add "who is" or "who was" to each of those examples, you'll see how the dropped phrase works in the implied complete sentence.

It is not generally appropriate to use rumor as an active verb in constructions such as

Fred rumors about everyone, so people tend to avoid him.

For purposes of the sentence you ask about, a more frequent construction in English would be

Rumor has it that this armor has innate resistance to death and mind attack, but it is totally wrong ...

where rumor functions as a noun.

Answer to Q2

You could certainly say or write "Somebody gossiped that" or "Somebody speculated that" or even "Somebody said that"—though as you suspect, the different verb choices have different implications. In particular, "Somebody gossiped that" implies disapproval in a way that the other two options do not. Another possibility with pejorative overtones is "Somebody spread the rumor that..."

Answer to Q3

The normal critical form of the expression you give—with rumor used as a verb—would be along the lines of

Come on, man, is anything rumored about this stuff nowadays? It's so outdated that nobody cares about it anymore.

Or you could express rumor as noun and achieve the same effective result. However, this would not be a negative sentence in the sense of denying a postulate; it would simply be a response that expresses scorn for the rumor in question.

  • I see. Thank you very much for clear explanation. Now I think that this person on forum is probably not a native English speaker, so he (or she) may not know about such oddity in using of that verb. I am saying "oddity", because my native language has no such concept as "transitivity" or "activity" of verbs, and such themes and features and especially hard for me to memorize. Thanks, once again. =)
    – Mark
    May 13, 2017 at 20:05
  • 1
    It looks like rumored is a deponent verb, existing only in passive forms. I'd thought born was the only one in English. May 14, 2017 at 3:13

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