Should I choose Passive or Active form of the verb here?

In fact, a pool of melted water ____________ (FORM) at the North Pole every year now since 2002.

I guess, a pool can't form itself, so Passive should be used. However, according to the keys, the answer is 'has formed'.

I would be very happy if someone shed some light on this.

1 Answer 1


to form is used here as an intransitive verb, which has no passive form:

From Merriam-Webster:

2: to take form : come into existence : arise
// Storm clouds were forming over the hills.

The present perfect is used here to indicate something that has been going on from the past until now.

I guess it's possible to use the passive here, if you indicate the actor:

In fact, a pool of melted water has been formed by increasing global temperatures at the North Pole every year now since 2002.

but I'm not sure if it's idiomatic.

  • And in fact, the present perfect is used in the source from which this sentence has been taken: mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/stories/…
    – RuslanD
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 7:16
  • Thank you very much:) How do we use intransitivity to choose between Active or Passive? If the sentence 'The next government will be formed' is grammatically correct, I wonder why Passive is used there. As far as I understand, 'form' is intransitive there. Commented May 3, 2020 at 7:53
  • 1
    Well, using has been formed in your example sentence would be grammatically correct as well, but not the most idiomatic choice. It might be different because here something is formed by natural process, i.e. it forms itself (other Germanic languages use a reflexive verb here), while the government is being formed by people.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 8:17
  • @Glorfindel can’t thank you enough:) Commented May 3, 2020 at 8:48

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