I am trying like this

Adam going to market was seen by me.

Is this is correct?

I am confused about the subject.

Adam going to market

  • 2
    Don't forget, a common use of the passive is to be subjectless: "Adam was seen going to the market" or "Adam has been seen going to the market" – Paul Childs Jun 7 '18 at 21:08

He saw Adam | going to the market.

First, simplify it: He saw Adam becomes Adam was seen by him.

The subject is I and the verb is saw and the object is Adam.

Going to the market is "extra": Adam was seen by him going to the market.

I changed the pronoun because the passive with I would be a little odd there.

Only the part of the sentence with the main verb can be made passive.

going to market can be analyzed as "when" I saw him. It can be analyzed as an adverbial phrase.

However, When going to the market, he saw Adam. is another sentence. And: He saw Adam when he was going to the market is ambiguous.

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  • Thank you very much. I have found a note from another place: Adam's going to the market was seen by him. Also: Adam, going to the market, was seen by him. – Asif Iqbal Jun 7 '18 at 19:22
  • That is awkward. If you are using the passive, it's best to be very clear. – Lambie Jun 7 '18 at 19:37

Passive is a cyclic rule. That means it applies to a clause, not to a sentence. There are two clauses in this sentence, so it doesn't have a passive form.

In addition, passive can only be applied to transitive clauses that have both a subject and a direct object. The first clause of the example sentence is intransitive, with no direct object, and therefore that clause doesn't have a passive form, either.

Any question that asks you for the "passive form" of a complex sentence or of an intransitive clause is a stupid question, written by someone who didn't understand English grammar, and you should not attempt to answer it. If you want to learn English, anyway.

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  • john: my sentence is not a complex sentence. That sentence is a simple sentence. – Asif Iqbal Jun 8 '18 at 3:50
  • @AsifIqbal No, I'm afraid John (Professor of Linguistics) is correct ;) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 8 '18 at 11:22
  • +1 Some grammars (for example CaGEL) analyse Adam in the OP's sentence as a Direct Object and the clause going to the market as a Catenative Complement (presumably in some kind of object control construction). One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that the clause can indeed be passivised: Adam was seen going to the market. I'm not sure I dig that analysis, though. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 8 '18 at 11:27
  • My explanation is wrong? Somebody has it in for me around here. ELLers require simple examples and explanations. Who is the "you" are you addressing in your second paragraph?**He saw Adam going to market** contains something that can be made into a passive: Adam was seen by him. "going to market" can be viewed here as invariable. In any event, at this level, an example works fine. You can only learn grammar by examples first. – Lambie Jun 8 '18 at 13:51
  • (1) A complex sentence is a sentence containing a subordinate clause. The subordinate clause in the OS is the intransitive gerund clause Adam going to market. (2) Practically any sentence "contains something that can be made into a passive" if you can take any verb and any noun from any clause and combine them any way you think counts as "passive". – John Lawler Jun 8 '18 at 16:43

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