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She was told a joke

Is a joke an object here? Or maybe a compulsory adjunct? Cuz I think she was told doesn't make sense on its own.

I'm confused, can someone help?

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  • She was told makes sense. It's just the passive voice: someone told her, but it doesn't matter who, or we don't know who.
    – stangdon
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 14:01
  • You don't have to post thank-you comments to answers. If you find an answer helpful, please upvote and/or accept it. You have asked 43 questions on our site but have accepted no answers, which I find kind of puzzling.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 18:03

2 Answers 2

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Compare the ditransitive verb give:

  • He gave her a book. - Active voice; subject is the agent, direct object is the thing given, indirect object is the recipient
  • He gave a book to her. - Active voice; subject is the agent, direct object is the thing given, prepositional to-phrase contains the recipient
  • She was given a book. - Passive voice; subject is the recipient, direct object is the thing given
  • A book was given to her. - Passive voice; subject is the thing given, prepositional to-phrase contains the recipient
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Yes, a joke is an object. To tell is a transitive verb and requires a direct object.

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