Active - The teacher teaches us English.

Passive - English is taught us by the teacher?

It doesn't sound correct but is it??


English is taught to us by the teacher.

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    OR we are taught English by the teacher. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 25 '14 at 19:43
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    @StoneyB: Dunno about you, but I can't say I have any problem with OP's original "passive" version in the first place. So far as I'm concerned the preposition to is entirely optional there, and if anything including it is just a half-baked attempt to change a relatively formal construction into something more "natural" that simply doesn't work very well. Your more radical restructuring is a much better way to achieve that. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 25 '14 at 20:50
  • @FumbleFingers I agree we don't need the to. Restructuring may be better, but may not if the context is something like Spanish we study online, but English is taught us by a teacher. Great Mother English is mostly pretty good about giving us different tools for different situations. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 25 '14 at 22:19
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    @StoneyB Okay, I need a little grammar lesson here I suppose ;) I must conclude I am wrong if both you and Fumble are on the opposite side, but the OP's original phrasing without the to is, to my ear, completely ungrammatical. "Guidance is given us by our parents?" "Toys are given us by Santa Claus?" I need the to in all of these cases to have a sentence that sounds right to me. What am I missing? – WendiKidd Jun 26 '14 at 3:23
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    @WendiKidd It's perfectly ordinary to my ear, but I'm an old man, and steeped from childhood in Late Victorian-Edwardian literature. Grammatically it's the usual transform of "Santa Claus gives us toys": passivize the verb and its object, front-and-flip-em, turn the Agent into a pp and move it to the end, and you're left with bare us in the middle. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 26 '14 at 11:24

As far as I'm concerned the passive form of "The teacher teaches us English" is "We are taught English by the teacher".

While the passive form "English is taught to us by the teacher " is actually that of the active " The teacher teaches English to us"

I can't say that I agree with FumbleFingers concerning the optionality of the to preposition in the passive form omission of which sounds ungrammatical to my non-native ear. To those who are learning English as a foreign language I don't recommend such omissions.

  • The to-less construction sounds somewhat dated/formal, but not ungrammatical at all to me, and I'm not a native speaker of English either. Further, both passive forms of the given active are valid since teach is ditransitive. – userr2684291 Aug 10 '17 at 11:10

In that case, two objects are given. In which case there may be two passive forms. Both are correct.

  1. We are taught English by the teacher.
  2. English is taught us by the teacher.
  • Please take extra care to get the basic grammar, and spelling correct in answers. Make sure you use capital letters in the right places. You will get downvotes for lack of care, despite this being a correct answer. – James K Aug 10 '17 at 7:14
  • it's ok.actually i didn't care about explanation just i kept my answer. – mrinmoy Aug 10 '17 at 9:03

The teacher teaches us English = The teacher teaches English to us.

Both the sentences, which are in the active voice, are grammatical.

They can be changed into the passive either starting the sentence with the indirect object or the direct object as follows:

We are taught English by the teacher.

English is taught to us by the teacher.

However, it's far more common and natural to use the verb teach in the structure "teach + somebody +something" than in the structure "teach + something + to + somebody".

So the sentences #1 and 3 are more idiomatic than the sentences #2 and 4.

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