0

When I started turning the steering wheel, it emitted a strange sound.

I am trying to rewrite the above sentence such that the steering wheel is the subject. I would like to know which of the following is correct.

  1. The steering wheel emitted a strange sound when it was started to be turn.
  2. The steering wheel emitted a strange sound when it started to be turned.
1

The first sentence is not correct: you should not use passive voice for start in this context, because the main activity is turning, not starting. It is optional for turn:

The steering wheel emitted a strange sound when it started to turn.
The steering wheel emitted a strange sound when it started turning.
The steering wheel emitted a strange sound when it started to be turned.

The first two versions might give the impression that the wheel turned on its own: the second version sounds over-complex.

It would make a more natural sentence if you kept the steering wheel as the subject of the first clause, but made it the object of the second clause:

The steering wheel emitted a strange sound when I started to turn it.

emit is a bit technical: make would work better in informal spoken English.

| improve this answer | |
  • How about "at the start of turn of it"? – rama9 Jan 31 '18 at 6:32
  • Nope, There's a the missing, it's not natural, and turn of it sounds like you are talking about its turn in a game. The first two of my suggestions would be better. – JavaLatte Jan 31 '18 at 6:43
  • @JavaLatte, is it not a bit sweeping to say never use the passive voice with start? "When the Lottery was started it was not popular." In that example passive is OK grammatically and if the point being made is about the early popularity of the Lottery we don't need to know who did the starting. – JeremyC Jan 31 '18 at 6:48
  • @JeremyC: I only meant in this context, where start affects another verb: in such cases, it's the other verb that should be passivized. "This area was nice until students started to occupy it" -> "This area was nice until it started to be occupied by students". By all means, use start in passive voice when starting is the only activity. – JavaLatte Jan 31 '18 at 14:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.