There is no special context or source and I just wondering if there is any difference between these sentences ...

She is being poisoned.


She gets poisoned.

  • How do you think they are different? What might be the difference between using the passive continuous and the simple passive?
    – Andrew
    Dec 12, 2017 at 1:07
  • So does these sentences mean :
    – Pixier
    Dec 12, 2017 at 7:44
  • 1) He is poisoning her. 2) He poisons her
    – Pixier
    Dec 12, 2017 at 7:57
  • Not necessarily "he", or even any person. That's the point of using the passive -- we can say something is happening without saying who or what is doing it.
    – Andrew
    Dec 12, 2017 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


The passive tense allows us to define an action without saying specifically who or what is doing it.
Both of these use the passive tense, but the first is the continuous passive and the second is the simple passive

I plant the tree ⇨ the tree gets planted

I am planting the tree ⇨ the tree is being planted.

In the same way, your examples describe someone in the process of being poisoned (over time), and someone who is poisoned as a single act.

It's unusual to use the simple present passive with "poison" since this tense is commonly used to express regular actions, or general truths.

Hamlet's father gets poisoned by his brother, Claudius, before the play starts.

The mice get poisoned by the bait, which they carry back to their nests.

You use the continuous to express ongoing action:

Later on, Hamlet commissions a troupe of actors to put on a play that depicts the murder of a King by his brother. As the actor who plays the fictional king is being poisoned the real King, Claudius, stands up suddenly and leaves, apparently overcome with guilt.

A well-known internet and radio personality, Alex Jones, claimed Trump's Diet Coke is being poisoned, which is why Trump tends to slur his words.

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