4

Rewrite it in the passive: "These odds would make a professional player shudder" I would do it as follows:"A professional player would be made shudder by these odds". This sounds clumsy to me, so I'm not sure if I rewrote it correctly. Could you check it?

Rewrite these sentences using suitable forms of make:

1."We were obliged to clean up the mess we had made";

2."The prisoners-of-war were obliged to build roads across the Burmese jungle".

I would write:"We were made to clean up the mess we had made" and "The prisoners-of-war were made to build roads across the Burmese jungle", but in the example there's no "to" when "made" is used (When we were children, mother obliged us to take a bath every day - When we were children, mother made us take a bath every day). But to me it doesn't sound right without to. And take "bullies were threatening little boys" as an example how on earth would that change? What am I doing wrong?

10

You observe, correctly, that a verb which takes an infinitive ‘marked’ with to in the active voice also takes a marked infinitive in the passive voice.

 Mother obliged us to take a bath every day.
                   ⇓
 We were obliged   to take a bath every day (by mother).

From this you draw the entirely reasonable conclusion that a verb which takes an unmarked infinitive in the active voice likewise takes an unmarked infinitive in the passive voice.

 Mother made us ∅ take a bath every day.
                ⇓
 We were made   ∅ take a bath every day (by mother).

Alas, in this case (as in so many cases), English is unreasonable. In the passive voice, almost all verbs which take unmarked infinitives require a marked infinitive.

 Mother made us ∅ take a bath every day.
                ⇓
 We were made   to take a bath every day (by mother).

Consequently you must say

A professional player would be made to shudder by these odds.

It’s just one of those things English instituted after the Norman Conquest to make the language as difficult as possible to learn. But it's a lot easier than mastering English spelling.


There's only a handful of these verbs. Many of them cannot be passivized in the senses which permit unmarked infinitives: modals and semi-modals, auxiliary do, and causative have (as in Mother had us take a bath). With one exception, those that can be passivized— coercive make,know, help and the perception verbs feel, hear, notice, observe, see and watch—require marked infinitives in the passive. Only let allows an unmarked infinitive; and except in the collocation let go, let is rarely passivized today. The same thing appears to be happening with make, as Tim Romano’s answer suggests.

5

Not sure of your question. But the differences are:

{Someone|something} made us {infinitive form of the verb without "to"}.

We were made {infinitive form of the verb with "to"} by {someone, something}.

So:

Mother made us clean our rooms.

We were made to clean our rooms by mother.

These odds would make a professional player shudder.

The exercise to rewrite the above in the passive voice would yield:

A professional player would be made to shudder by these odds.

Although that might be idiomatic British usage (I'm not sure it is), idiomatic American is:

A professional player would shudder at these odds.

Made to {xxx} is verbose, bordering on pompous, in the US of A.

I shudder at the thought of being made to shudder at the thought.

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