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I am trying to understanding why the be-verb is needed when the object of preposition becomes the subject when written in the passive voice, while when the direct object of the sentence becomes the subject in the passive voice, the same rule doesn't apply.

I am assuming that "to get rid of" means "to rid of" in the passive voice, thus safely assuming, grammatically, it can be replaced by "to be rid of."

Example Sentence: The governor rid the state of crimes.


When the direct object of the sentence becomes the subject:

The state got rid of crimes (by the governor).


When the object of preposition becomes the subject:

Crimes were gotten rid of (in the state by the governor).


Is there a rule that constitutes this case? Or is this something unique to the verb "to rid"? Or is my view of "to get rid of" as the passive voice wrong?

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Got changes the way the sentence's information is used/ordered.

Your first sentence uses an active voice:

  1. The governor rid the state of crimes.

Your second sentence also uses an active voice:

  1. The state got rid of crimes (by the governor).

The first two sentences are very similar (both use the active voice) except that the subject has changed from governor to state. The word "got" changes phrase information denoting the nature of the crimes from an adjective in front of the direct object ("governor's crimes") to a prepositional phrase that follows it ("crimes of the governor").

The state got rid of crimes by the governor.

The state rid the governer's crimes.

In your examples, only the final sentence uses a passive voice. Notice that "gotten" is used and therefore so are a set of prepositional phrases "in the state" and "by the governor."

  1. Crimes were gotten rid of (in the state by the governor).

You could also reword this so that it does not use the word "got" or, therefore, prepositional phrases:

The governor rid the state of crimes.

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Passive and active:

To get rid of something: someone or something gets rid of crime, i.e. does away with it.

To rid something of something: someone rids a city of crime.

(Crime is a general category that is an uncountable noun, crimes are the actual acts committed by people and countable).

Active: 1)The governor got rid of crime in the state. 2) The governor rid the state of crime. [same meaning: get rid of is more informal; rid x of y is more formal, journalistic]

Passive: 2) Crime in the state was gotten rid of by the governor. 2)The state was rid of crime by the governor.

Please note: the Brits use: was got rid of, as was gotten rod of is obsolete in BrE.

The confusion stems from understanding the difference between the structure of to rid something of something and to get rid of something.

Finally, if the governor got rid of crime, if he rid the city of crime (same meaning, one more formal, one more colloquial), the city is now rid of crime, yes. To be rid of something is the result of either of those ways of expressing this.

[for some reason, italics don't work for me here.]

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