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Does "take revenge on" lend itself to the passive voice?

He was taken revenge on by his boss.

I don't remember being taken revenge on by him.

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  • In the first one, did you mean, "He was taken revenge on by his boss"? This matches your question better, and doesn't attempt to use "revenge" as a verb, which it almost never is.
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 1:27
  • of course it was a typo
    – user1425
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 3:48

1 Answer 1

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"Take revenge on" is an idiom consisting of a verb + noun + preposition. Idioms often are "fossilized", meaning they are less flexible than normal syntactic combinations in terms of how they can be modified or rearranged.

I can't think of a natural way to passivize "take revenge on" that switches which individual is the subject. "The Joker was taken revenge on by Batman" (meant as a paraphrase of "Batman took revenge on the Joker") sounds odd.

But you could make "revenge" the subject in a passive sentence: "Revenge was taken on the Joker by Batman." Or, perhaps, "Revenge on the Joker was taken by Batman."

In practice—probably best to stick to active voice.

Note that while "revenge" and "avenge" can be verbs, the active direct object/passive subject is normally the initial wrongdoing or its victim, not the person taken revenge on.

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