I came across the sentence:

"57% of global population will live in an urban environment."

Would it be correct to instead use:

"57% of global population will be lived in an urban environment."

What would be different between the sentences?

  • 2
    "will be lived" is not valid. "will be living" is roughly equivalent to "will live"
    – Tim S.
    Apr 22 '14 at 15:41
  • "They will be lived" means "someone will live them", as if they are life (lives?) :)
    – Ruslan
    Apr 22 '14 at 19:38

Stick with the original (will live).

The main reason is that live is almost always used as an intransitive verb (without an object). Thus, we don't normally use live in the passive voice.

The only phrase (as far as I know) that live is used as a transitive verb is: to live someone's life, which is not the meaning used in your sentence.

  • 1
    Live a life is a cognate object construction. You can do this with lots of verbs: sing a song, die a gruesome death, etc.
    – user230
    Apr 22 '14 at 14:58

Be lived is formally a passive construction, BE + past participle. Since live is an intransitive verb it cannot be cast in the passive, so this is not acceptable.

You probably mean be living, the progressive construction. That would be acceptable here; but it is unnecessary, since with activity verbs like live (which lack a completion or goal built in to the sense) the simple present conveys pretty much the same thing as the progressive. They are living differs from they live only in a slight suggestion of its being a temporary state: they're living there now, but they weren't living there before and they may not live there in the future. That being the case, live is probably to be preferred here, since the sentence is concerned with where an entire population lives, not individuals.

  • Though there are cases in the past tense when progressive is preferable i.e. "Where did you live when you heard the news?" vs. "Where were you living when you heard the news?"
    – djv
    Apr 22 '14 at 18:52
  • @Dan Yes. Indeed if OP's sentence were speaking about the past situation the progressive would be more appropriate, because it would imply a distribution which would in fact change. Apr 22 '14 at 19:04

"57% of the global population will live in an urban environment," is present tense. "57% of the global population will have lived in an urban environment," is past tense. The present tense implies that it is the current global population. It is the correct phrase.

In other sentences, "will" means that something will [verb], while "will be" means that something will be in a certain condition.

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