Which of the following sentences is correct?

a) Doctor said two kids choked to death due to inhalation of mud.

b) Doctor said two kids were choked to death due to inhalation of mud.

According to me b) is more Correct as we should use auxiliary before verb.

  • 1
    Why do you think the auxiliary is needed? Update your question.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 16:25

3 Answers 3


Only (A) is correct.

a) The doctor said two kids choked to death due to inhalation of mud.

b) The doctor said two kids were choked to death due to inhalation of mud.

Forget the rest of the sentence, just consider the part with/without the auxiliary:

Two kids choked

Two kids were choked

"Two kids choked" means that they involuntarily choked - perhaps on food, or something else that blocked their windpipe.

"Two kids were choked" means something or maybe somebody choked them. If you include this auxiliary verb you need to say what, or who choked them, using "by" for example:

Two kids were choked by food.

Only when you omit the auxilary verb can you use "on" and say:

Two kids choked on their food.

Your example uses "due to", so it is citing a cause, not necessarily the item that they choked on. Consider this example:

Two children were choked by food due to not chewing it properly.

In this example, the direct cause of the choking was still the food, but the underlying cause was that the food was unchewed. Only sentence (a) makes sense because it links the cause to the effect.

  • 2
    This answer is wrong. Both are valid phrases. Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 12:18
  • 1
    @Voldemort'sWrath Gramatically they both scan, but the latter is misleading and illogical for the reasons I explain.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 12:30
  • 1
    This is a good answer. Sentence B is at best infelicitous (pragmatically or semantically anomalous). There is an unlikely interpretation in which the kids were choked by someone because they inhaled mud (some sort of punishment I suppose), which would make the sentence completely fine, if that were the intended meaning.
    – user3395
    Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 18:12
  • 1
    Yes, except, The doctor. Basically, were choked to death by someone or something, versus choked to death on food.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 18:43
  • 1
    @Lambie This may be explained away by the phenomenon called left-edge deletion, a well-documented feature of spoken English and some variants / registers of written English. See, e.g. awweir.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/tallinn-handout-weir.pdf. But in principle you're right.
    – user3395
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 1:43

When be is used as an auxillary verb, it can be followed by past participle to form passive voice, or present participle to form progressive or continuous aspect.

Some verbs have a built-in passive meaning or can be used passively without the auxillary.

Choke can mean either:

  • causing a state of restricted flow - choke in this case will take an object.

  • being in a state of restricted flow - choke in this case will not take an object but might be followed by an on X that identifies what is restricting the state.

So X chokes, and X chokes on Y are valid for the second meaning, and X chokes Y is valid for the first meaning.

Since the second meaning is already "passive", you can't use passive voice with it.

I choked on my food but was saved by a helpful person (OK).

I was choked on my food but was saved by a helpful person (incorrect).

The mugger choked the victim nearly to death (OK).

The victim was choked by the mugger nearly to death (OK).

Continuous is OK with the second meaning of choke:

I was choking on my food when a helpful person saved me (OK).


One is active, one is passive. Both are correct.

But I prefer active language as the meaning is usually clearer. As someone mentioned, it could mean someone choked the kids with mud, but I am fairly sure that is not what it means. The first version, the active version, is much clearer. This is because 1) it uses less words, and 2) because active sentences do not separate objects from their actions.

  • Thanks for answer, what is the active voice for two persons were killed in accident
    – user4084
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 14:36
  • Two people died in an accident.
    – James
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 14:54
  • @user4084 Also, "Doctor said" is incorrect here. it should be "The doctor said or "A doctor said" or "Doctor X said" if the name is known. If the name is omitted, an article is needed. Similarly, it should be an accident, not 'killed in accident", again an article is needed. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:34
  • @DavidSiegel - Some people call their doctors "Doctor." It could be an affectionate name, or something like that! Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 12:19
  • @Voldemort'sWrath Not really - when people call a doctor "Doctor", they are using it as a form of address, like "Sir", or "Madam". You wouldn't use it in isolation to refer to them.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 12:10

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