I am a student in 10th class, and I am stuck on a homework problem.

Change the voice:

"The rose smells sweet."

I thought a lot but I couldn't get an answer. I think that the voice of this sentence cannot be changed, but I am not sure and I thought that it would be better if I ask here first.

  • This is part of a class of verbs that represent behaviours, and hence are difficult to passivise because, strictly speaking, they don't really have an agent as other verbs do. Other examples include smile, laugh, sing, cry if they occur without an object.
    – jimsug
    Jul 21 '14 at 5:02

I asked my teacher and she told me that the answer was:

"The rose is sweet when smelt."

  • 5
    This is not a passive version of the original sentence.
    – user230
    Jan 25 '14 at 9:06
  • This is the correct passive voice. "Smell" is a quasi passive verb. (Honestly as a native speaker I wouldn't have known this but for google.) Jan 25 '14 at 10:27
  • @CoolHandLouis Although there is a passive in Kartik's sentence, snailplane is quite right: Kartik's sentence is not derivable from OP's. Jan 25 '14 at 12:35
  • @CoolHandLouis The term "quasi-passive verb" or "quasi-passive voice" is intriguing. I tried searching the web to find at least one authoritative source, but couldn't find even one. Most of the results (of this "quasi-passive voice") I found are from ESL websites, blog posts, or discussion forums. The rest are the analysis results likely to be written by non-native English speaking linguists. The term was mentioned here on ELL too. I'm now curious to learn what English linguists said on this "quasi-passive". Jan 25 '14 at 12:46
  • 1
    @DamkerngT. A grammar of Contemporary English (Quirk & al) has a whole page on quasi-passives (a book not primarily meant for ESL learners). To put it very briefly they represent a "mixed class whose members have both verbal and adjectival properties." First time I ever read that page in the 40 years I've had the book, but I've used quasi-passives for longer that 40 years. If discussed at all I don't think ELL is the best place.
    – None
    Jan 25 '14 at 15:20

I have tried this but don't know it is right or not.

Smell of rose is sweet

  • 2
    This is not a passive voice. It is also incorrect because of missing articles, it should be “The smell of a rose is sweet.” or “The smell of the rose is sweet.”. Jan 25 '14 at 14:23

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