I know we can say "He took the book" and "The book was taken" but when it comes to some sentences it makes me confused.

I just don't understand why would someone say:

But both men interviewed separately

Wouldn't it be more correct to say the following?

But both men were interviewed separately.

  • 1
    Either your sentences contain extraneous commas or they might be incomplete. Feb 4, 2019 at 6:13
  • @ZeeshanAli Are they grammatically correct? Feb 4, 2019 at 6:26
  • 1
    Yes, both are correct. The contexts are however different. The first one is active voice and second is a passive voice sentence. Feb 4, 2019 at 6:31

2 Answers 2


The first sentence is an active-voice;

But both men interviewed (the interviewee) separately.

where both the men are those who interviewed the interviewee separately.

The second one is a passive voice;

But both men were interviewed (by the interviewer(s)) separately.

where both the men are those who were interviewed either one-by-one by an interviewer or each by a different interviewer.



In the active-voice example, the first sentence, "the men" are the subject. In the second, the men are the object. In the first, the usual sense would be that the men were doing the interviewing; in the second, that they were being interviewed.

However, there is a modern usage of the first where they would be the ones being interviewed, despite being the subject. This is because "to interview" can now mean "to be interviewed for a position, job, role etc". So "both men interviewed separately" can mean the two men applied for a job, both got to interview stage, and the interviews were conducted separately.

  • Great explanation specially "However, there is a modern usage of the first where they would be the ones being interviewed" but do I know that? Feb 4, 2019 at 12:40
  • 1
    You would have to judge from context which sense of "interviewed" was being used in any given case.
    – SamBC
    Feb 4, 2019 at 12:49

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