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Have a question about forming passive sentences from active sentences.

1a "The rebels attacked the city from the hilltop."
2a "The teacher yelled at the students from his (teacher's) office."
3a "The spy observed the suspect from his (spy's) car."

For the above active sentences, if I write the following passive sentences:

1b "The city was attacked from the hilltop."
2b "The students were yelled at from the teacher's office."
3b "The suspect was observed from the spy's car."

Are some of the passive sentences not so good?

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Passive voice can be represented in the form of a short participle. be + v3 = short participle. v3 - passive indicator. Past Simple Passive Voice: was/were + v3.

1b "The city was attacked by the rebels from the hilltop."

2b "The students were yelled at from the teacher's office."

3b "The suspect was observed from the spy's car."

Maybe "from" is wrong at 2b and 3b. I don't know exactly.

  • So, 2b and 3b are poorly written? – meatie Sep 1 '14 at 3:55
  • No, imho all fine. – bo858585 Sep 1 '14 at 4:38
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    1b and 3b are perfectly fine with from. 2b is grammatically correct and would be understood, but it is awkward. The active voice would be preferred here, or perhaps, "The students were yelled at by the teacher, from his office." The teacher's yelling is what is important rather than the location from which the yelling came. A similar change could be made to either of the other sentences, but they sound much better than 2b does as written. – Jason Patterson Nov 2 '14 at 1:19
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    The city was attacked from the hilltop by the rebels. If you say by the rebels from the hilltop you leave open the possibility that from the hilltop differentiates the hilltop rebels from the valley rebels. – user6951 Nov 2 '14 at 1:21
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    @bo858585 A grim example that illustrates the difference between from and out of in this context. 1) President John F. Kennedy was shot from the Book Depository. 2) President John F. Kennedy was shot out of the Book Depository. Sentence 1 means that the shot came from the book depository, sentence 2 is ambiguous, and implies that the president was launched out of the building. – Jason Patterson Nov 2 '14 at 1:24

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