Is this sentence grammatically correct? And why?

about 80% of global trade is carried by sea, and estimates of the volume carried through the South China Sea range from 20% to 33%

I am not sure about the "global trade is carried"

  • 4
    In most contexts, [global] trade refers to the process of selling goods [around the world]. But for lack of any obvious concise alternative, in the cited context above, trade = goods [which are traded]. Some people might prefer ...global trade is carried out (i.e. - the activity is performed via seaways, as opposed to the goods being transported). But I'd say that's just pointless pedantry. The cited text sounds fine to me. May 10, 2022 at 10:32
  • 2
    The full OED has trade definition IV-15: Commodities for use in bartering, esp. with indigenous peoples, where one cited instance is 1884 (Pall Mall Budget 22 Aug) One of these boats has on board the ‘trade’, as we call the goods by which purchases are effected. I wouldn't really say the cited usage reflects that definition, though. May 10, 2022 at 10:38
  • 1
    Your comments are really good as answers! Why not post them as answers @FumbleFingers?
    – DialFrost
    May 10, 2022 at 10:45
  • That's just my take. Others may think different, and/or they might be able to cite an actual current dictionary definition matching this example (the best I could find was that OED definition, which obviously doesn't really match your context). May 10, 2022 at 10:57
  • 1
    I find this question somewhat interesting because it is not entirely clear whether "by" indicates the verb's "agent" (as it usually does with passive constructions) or not. It depends on how you define "carry". May 10, 2022 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


"Trade" means to exchange goods. Like, "I will trade you my orange for your apple." On a larger scale, it can mean the exchange of goods between regions or countries. Like, "Japan trades automobiles and other manufactured goods for raw materials like oil and steel." "Global trade" means trade on the scale of the entire world. i.e. we're talking about all the goods bought and sold by every country in the world, or at least by many countries.

If countries are trading goods, they have to be transported from one country to another somehow. They might be carried by truck or train, or by airplane, or by camel, or whatever. One way to transport goods is in boats. So "carried by sea", meaning carried from one country to another over the sea in boats.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .