What is 'to be polite' in this sentence?

"The student is taught to be polite."

What is its use and what is it called?

2 Answers 2


This is a sentence with a verb (teach), a direct object (what is being taught) and an indirect object (who it is being taught to). Because it's a passive form, the indirect object (the student) has become the subject of the sentence. The thing which is being taught (being polite) is still the direct object.

If you're asking about the structure of teach to be polite, it's just a verb + infinitive (and an adjective because it's be). It's a common structure with certain verbs - I hate to do this, I want to believe, you like to dance etc. Teach usually takes an indirect object (who is being taught), so normally you'd have that in the middle (can you teach me to drive?) but because this example is passive, that indirect object is moved.


Sorry, I didn't understand your question at first.
In your sentence, 'polite' is an adjective, which qualifies the noun, 'student'. And, 'to be polite' is a to-infinitive form of the word polite.

  • So is it an indirect object?
    – Mati
    Jan 3, 2021 at 7:46

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