My last novel had {changed/been changed} three times before I was happy with it.

Should I use "had changed" or "had been changed" in this sentence? I sometimes see cases that it is possible to use both of them, but does it work in this example?


Yes, but they imply different things.

"My novel had been changed" implies that it was changed by someone else, whereas "my novel had changed" is more neutral. (You could say "had been" for your own changes, of course, but then why not say "I had changed my novel" or "My novel had changed" instead of using the passive? So the passive implies they weren't your changes.)

And just to check - you've used the pluperfect "it had changed" instead of the simple past "it changed". Was this deliberate? "My novel changed three times before I was happy with it" is also a perfectly ok sentence. (And so is the passive "My novel was changed three times before I was happy with it".)

  • I know that it is ok to use the past simple tense, but that is a choose question in my school book and the past tense isn't one of the choices, but if? Would it be better to use the past simple tense? – Dina Mohamed Sep 20 '18 at 9:03

Yes it is grammatically correct in this context. Though, I would use "had changed" here, since we have used the word "changed" here, adding "been" makes it redundant.

  • It was a question in my school book and my teacher chose the passive,thinking that we should stick to the grammars we had learnt about passive. – Dina Mohamed Sep 20 '18 at 9:08

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