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I found in the learning book the sentence: 'Cars, lorries drive along roads'. But I can't find any explanation of the meaning of the verb 'to drive' in a dictionary relating to this example sentence.

'to drive' can mean:

'to take somebody somewhere in a car, taxi, etc'

'to operate a vehicle so that it goes in a particular direction' etc.

But I would say: 'Cars, lorries are drived along roads' according to the dictionary.

Could you help me to understand 'how can car drive itself'?

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  • "Cars, lorries are drived along roads". The word drived is incorrect. The past tense of drive is drove. However, in your sentence, using the past partiple driven is the most accurate: "Cars, lorries are driven along roads". – JW Lim Mar 27 '14 at 2:04
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It's correct usage. Here is the definition of "drive"

Drive - (Of a motor vehicle) travel under the control of a driver

Example -

  1. a car drives up, and a man gets out
  2. a stream of black cars drove by

Something off topic -

There are a few instances, where passive form seems logical, but without passive form also it works, and is used widely.

For example -

  1. The movie is to release on Friday. (A movie can't release itself, but still this sentence is correct and natural, widely used)

  2. The movie is to be released on Friday.

Both sentence no. 1 and 2 is correct, but sentence no 1 is found more than sentence no. 2.

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  • The fun technical term you get to use is "patientive ambitransitive." – Andrew Ray Oct 15 '20 at 13:18
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You are correct. The term that describes this is "personification" or in other words, to apply human traits to an object.

A better way to say it would be (in my opinion)

Cars, lorries are driven along roads

However, the other answer is also correct, and perhaps more so, in that common usage does not always follow this logic. Transitive verbs can be used this way correctly, even though it seems illogical and the definition of the verb is not prominent in this usage.

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    But I found it in a Cambridge textbook. I'm not sure they can be wrong. – Selio Mar 26 '14 at 16:37
  • The only thing I can add is perhaps they are using 'cars, lorries' to mean the combined 'cars, lorries, and their drivers' and possibly a nuance in British English (I'm speaking American English) – David Wilkins Mar 26 '14 at 16:43
  • Also, depending on context, there may be a different way of saying it. If the sentence is part of a scenic description, scenic descriptions are often shortened as a form of prose, or poetic writing to paint a more colorful picture in the reader's mind. – David Wilkins Mar 26 '14 at 16:45
  • @snailplane Thanks, that would be less misleading...Changed – David Wilkins Mar 26 '14 at 18:41
  • @Selio textbooks can certainly be wrong. Regardless of what topic they're on. If the text appears to be wrong, it's a very good idea to look at some other sources in case the textbook you're using is wrong. Other sources may also give a better explanation of why the textbook is right. – Leliel Jan 19 '17 at 20:04

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