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I remember that passive infinitive sentences can be changed into "It is PP that Subject+verb",
but does the formula apply to the following sentences?
I wonder if all passive infinitive sentences can be changed into the above mentioned formula.

An adverse event is defined to be unexpected if the nature of severity is not consistent with the current knowledge in relevant documents.

Can the sentence be understood to be:
It is defined that an adverse event is unexpected ..... in relevant documents.

The machine was designed to be used in the workplace.

Can the sentence be understood to be :
It is designed that the machine is used in the workplace.

He was asked to be the leader of the group.

Can the sentence be understood to be:
It was asked that he is the leader of the group.

The idea is used to generate profits.

Can the sentence be understood to be:
It is used that the idea generates profits.

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No, they certainly can't. None of your transformed sentences has the same meaning as its original, and the third and fourth examples don't make sense (they haven't got any plausible meaning that I can find).

I've never heard your rule. No doubt it applies in some cases, but it is hopelessly over-general. I have a feeling that it depends on the main (passive) verb, and possibly on the nature of the subject as well. I think "planned" and "expected" will work: "The meeting was planned to take place tomorrow" = "It was planned that the meeting will/would take place tomorrow".

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  • Thanks, then can the first sentence be understood as "Unknown subject defines adverse event to be unexpected if ....." and the understood subject of "to be unexpected " is adverse event?
    – jana
    Mar 24, 2019 at 2:09
  • @Jana: yes that's right.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 24, 2019 at 10:56

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