Archaeologists have discovered a new tomb in Egypt.

  1. A new tomb has been discoverered in Egypt by archaeologists.

  2. A new tomb has been discovered by archaeologists in Egypt.

Which is correct? Please explain to me.

  • 1
    The subject of your passive voice clause is tomb. Is tomb singular or plural? ... ... Welcome to ELL and thanks for your question. We hope you will take a few minutes to review our tour and Help Center pages, and that you will ask more questions! Jun 12, 2017 at 2:52
  • It must be"A new tomb has been discovered by archaeologists in Egypt".Sorry for my mistake.Please explain to me.
    – Phyu Min
    Jun 12, 2017 at 3:02
  • 2
    Well done! Once you understood that the subject is singular, you used the correct form of the verb. You have nothing to apologize for. Instead, you should be proud of yourself. Jun 12, 2017 at 3:07
  • The explanation is that the verb always matches the subject of the sentence, so even in a passive sentence, where the subject of the sentence is not the actor, the verb matches the subject (tomb) not the actor(s) (archaeologists). So when written in active voice the sentence's verb would be have to match the subject Archaeologists but when written in passive voice the sentences verb would be has to match the subject tomb.
    – Brillig
    Jun 12, 2017 at 15:15
  • It isn't clear whether "have" was a typo or whether that is part (or the main point) of your question. Is the question just about the order of "Egypt" and "archeologists", or are you asking about "have" vs. "has" instead of, or in addition to, that?
    – fixer1234
    Jun 13, 2017 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


They are both passive voice. But the verb form of to have must match a new tomb and so it must be a new tomb has been discovered. As G Tony Jacobs has pointed out, '*a new tomb have been discovered' is ungrammatical.

Otherwise, they are both correct. Both of them have a passive subject (a new tomb), a passive verb conjugation (has been discovered) and a "by clause" which shows the actors of the sentence. A "by clause" is not necessary in a passive sentence. In your examples the "by clause" signify different things. In #1 you have "by archaeologists". That is all we know about the actors. They could be archeologists on the moon using an extremely long range sensing device, for all we know. But the new tomb is "in Egypt." In #2 the "by clause" is further modified by "archeologists in Egypt". Now the actors are "archeologists in Egypt" but we can't take it for granted that the new tomb is in Egypt.

  • 1
    The verb "have" in number two in incorrect in number. "A tomb have been discovered," no. Jun 13, 2017 at 2:16
  • @Toby già, you're right. Jun 13, 2017 at 2:22

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