(1) He killed himself.
(2) He was killed by himself.

Which one is better? If I want to passive 1st sentence is it correct to use 2nd one? If it is possible or not possible.

  • Your passive version is syntactically possible - just idiomatically unlikely. – FumbleFingers Dec 23 '19 at 14:20
  • He killed himself. [suicide]

  • He was killed by himself is not accurate really unless you are contrasting it to: He was killed by his friend. Even so, it's really awkward and unnecessary as "He killed himself" is what it means.

However, one does see the idiom: He died by his own hand. for to kill onself.

[not a very happy subject....]

dictionary - by one's own hand

  • Great answer (for pointing out the second option is just awkward). But one question though. The first could be said about someone who engages in dangerous activities (e.g., illegal drag racing). A racer who keeps racing ignoring warnings from family and friends. When he dies in an accident, I would expect his family to say "He killed himself." Or something out of a Rocky movie: "He killed himself [by getting into the ring with that monster!]" In such cases, would you call this suicide? I mean this person did not really want to die, but their action got them killed. – AIQ Dec 24 '19 at 1:04
  • @AIQ Of course, he killed himself does not have to just be suicide. It is really an opinion about the person. – Lambie Dec 24 '19 at 1:35

The two sentences would be interpreted to mean different things.

The first states that he committed suicide or that he died as a result of his own actions if not intentionally: eg: He killed himself by drinking to excess.

The second would be understood to mean that he was alone when he was killed - not that he took his own life, as per FumbleFingers comment.

  • Not sure why there was a downvote. I feel this is a good answer though. – dan Dec 24 '19 at 4:17
  • Thanks Dan. I wondered myself. Downvoters sometimes move in mysterious ways. I have already suggested, not on my own behalf, that downvotes should come with a reason and an identity. Would make a lot more sense. – Ronald Sole Dec 24 '19 at 13:40

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