One can be said...

One can say

Would you tell me where/when would you rather use the above phrases? or is there any difference between them?

  • more context Nima. – Maulik V Apr 4 '14 at 7:39
  • One is active and one is passive. They express entirely different things; it's not a matter of preference. – starsplusplus Apr 4 '14 at 9:21
  • I'm having trouble picturing where I would use "One can be said". The closest phrase in use I can think of is "It can be said". If it is correct, can you provide an example sentence where it is used? – Tyler James Young Apr 4 '14 at 15:34
  • @TylerJamesYoung One can be said to be overly formal if one always uses "one" where informally most native speakers would often use "you". But, like I said already, that's a completely different part of speech to One can say... – starsplusplus Apr 14 '14 at 12:57

The main difference is of course the fact that the first is passive and the second one is active.

That means that in the first case, someone else can say something about our "one", and in the second case "one" does the saying by themselves.

One can be said to be a poet if one writes poetry. John can be said to be a poet if John writes poetry.

This means that someone else (you or me) can say that John is a poet - if he writes poetry.

So it means we can call John a poet.

One can say they are a poet if they write poetry.
John can say he is a poet if he writes poetry.

This means John can say about himself that he is a poet - if he writes poetry.

So it means John can call himself a poet.

  • would anyone please give me another examples via another verbs instead of say? – nima Aug 24 '14 at 12:44

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