See, for example, the following example;

He is on trial for selling illicit goods in his store.

Is that sentence grammatically sound or should it better be like;

He is put on trial for selling illicit goods in his store.

? According to Google N-grams, the original is more frequent. See is on trial,is put on trial.

2 Answers 2


"Is on trial" is the common phrase and perfectly correct. The passive "is put" is odd in the example you give, using the present tense. The verb "put" indicates a single act, but you want to talk about an ongoing state. You could "put" in the past tense:

John is on trial for murder

John was put on trial for murder three weeks ago.

  • 1
    One possible use for "is put" would be narrative present tense, telling a story: "He goes on the run, the police track him down and catch him one morning and he is put on trial the very same day." The more ordinary uses are exactly as James says.
    – jonathanjo
    Jun 18, 2019 at 10:53

According to the Collins Dictionary, it's perfectly fine and grammatically correct.

on trial [phrase]

If someone is on trial, they are being tried in a court of law.
He is currently on trial accused of serious assault.

on trial [phrase]

If you say that someone or something is on trial, you mean that they are in a situation where people are observing them to see whether they succeed or fail.
The President will be drawn into a damaging battle in which his credentials will be on trial.

  • And, would putting 'put' before 'on trial' change the meaning? Jun 18, 2019 at 7:07
  • 1
    @ZeeshanAli As JamesK has pointed, it sonds odd if you use the present tense "is put on trial". He has pointed a good example, use it to mark an specific point in time in the past.
    – RubioRic
    Jun 18, 2019 at 8:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .