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What is the passive voice of "I like to sing my baby sister to sleep.

A. She likes to be sung to sleep.

B. She likes to be sung to be slept.

According to me it is A but i am not sure as English is not my native language and i also know that sometimes it sounds weird if an active voice is made into a passive one. But this afternoon a friend of mine asked me about it and I couldn't answer. So that is why I want to know which one is correct.

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As Showsni has pointed out, neither of the two sentences you've asked about is actually a passive-voice equivalent of "I like to sing my baby sister to sleep." That would be "Singing my baby sister to sleep is liked by me."

That said, "She likes to be sung to sleep" would be the correct way to use the passive voice to say that when you sing her to sleep, she enjoys it. (In the idiomatic phrase "sing to sleep," "sleep" is actually not a verb, but a noun.)

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    Thank you Nanigashi for point that out. I know i made a mistake. And you also told me the answer i was looking for, if my sister likes it when i sing her to sleep, then passive would be: she likes to be sung to sleep. – kuldeep sharma May 29 at 20:04
  • I'm glad I could help! – Nanigashi May 29 at 20:07
  • The A sentence is correct and is a passive. It just leaves off the agent. – Lambie May 29 at 20:21
  • @Lambie, yes, I know it's a correct use of the passive. That's why I said it's correct, though not in fact a passive-voice equivalent of the original sentence. – Nanigashi May 29 at 20:24
  • Yes, but Showsni claimed neither sentence was correct, which is wrong. The like part cannot really be made passive, can it? However, "she likes to be sung to sleep" is not technically passive at all as you say. She likes + direct object infinitive verb phrase. – Lambie May 30 at 23:07
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Neither of those options would be correct; you're the one that likes it, not her. You'd have to say something like "Singing my baby sister to sleep is something I like."

  • But "singing my baby sister to sleep is something I like" isn't the passive voice. You'd actually have to say "singing my baby sister to sleep is liked by me." – Nanigashi May 29 at 19:54
  • |She likes to be sung to sleep.| is 100% correct. – Lambie May 29 at 20:10
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"I like to sing my baby sister to sleep. OK [ACTIVE VOICE]

PASSIVES:

"My baby sister likes being sung to sleep by me."
OR "My baby sister likes to be sung to sleep by me."

That is how you do it. Like can take to sleep or like + gerund.

  • It's misleading to write "the verb after to is invariable." In the phrase "to sing [someone] to sleep," "sleep" is not a verb at all, but a noun. It is analogous to "death" in "to bore [someone] to death." – Nanigashi May 29 at 20:28
  • Yes, it was just me going too fast. – Lambie May 29 at 20:32
  • Thanks to all of you guys but I have another question what does sing someone to sleep actually mean? Does it mean singing to someone so that they fall asleep while listening to it or does the falling asleep occurs later when someone has sung a song? Like a mother saying to her little daughter after singing a song: "go to sleep now, I have sung you a song. – kuldeep sharma May 30 at 3:29
  • @kuldeepsharma I thought you were kidding. Goodness me. It means your first idea.... – Lambie May 30 at 15:23
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The passive equivalent of '(I) (like) (to sing my baby sister to sleep)' is '(To sing my baby sister to sleep) (is liked) (by me)'. '(My baby sister) (likes) (being/to be sung to sleep) (by me)' is active voice, as you can see from the main verb 'likes' (passive voice needs verb [be] and a passive participle main verb). 'Singing my baby sister to sleep is something I like' is also active voice.

The problem is that there are two verbs here - 'like' and 'to sing', both of which could be turned into passive, 'like' easily and 'to sing' with great difficulty. The passive voice equivalent of '(to sing) (my baby sister to sleep)' is '(my baby sister) (to be sung to sleep)', so whole sentence would be 'I like my baby sister to be sung to sleep by me'.

Both of these passive voice sentences are at best extremely awkward and at worst completely ungrammatical (I can't decide), so the best reasonable equivalent is 'My baby sister likes to be/being sung to sleep by me'. (There are other choices.)

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