1

Please help me with below example and explain how to indentify quickly if simple tense past/present and passive voice.

  1. My clothes were scattered in my bedroom.

It means when I entered in my bedroom my clothes were in scattered state.
Or
It means my clothes were scattered by someone

  1. Three people were killed.

It means three people were killed (maybe in an earthquake or a flood).
Or
It means three people were killed by killer.

My question is whether the meaning of my sentences is that cloths were scattered by someone or just in the state of scatteredness when I entered the room. Clothes were maybe scattered by a cyclone or something.

2

In both these cases, the passive form just describes the state of their objects, with no reference to the doer.

For instance, The vase was shattered just describes the state of the vase, which could have been shot with a gun, thrown against a wall, or dropped on the floor. The passive here just expresses it's state, like any other adjective would, at any point after it broke.

The same with "killed." However, if the victim was murdered then the doer would have to be a human perpetrator, since this is a valency requirement for that specific verb: humans murder humans.

  • Thanks for the answer. My question is whether the meaning of my sentences is that cloths were shattered by someone or just in the state of shattered when I entered in room. Cloths were may be shattered by cyclone or something. – user4084 Sep 12 '14 at 8:34
  • It just refers to the state of the clothes, so in these case, when you walked into the room, there were clothes scattered all over the place. – CocoPop Sep 12 '14 at 13:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.