3

When I looked up the word "confer" I found these example sentences:

"The university conferred a degree on him"

"A degree was conferred on him by the University"

What if I need to say about "him" first? I couldn't find if the following is correct:

"He was conferred with a degree by the university"

Is it correct? If not, what verb should I use to keep the sense and the order of the words in the sentence above?

  • 1
    Probably "he earned his degree" or "he received his degree" – CowperKettle Nov 29 '14 at 15:33
4

Confer is monotransitive: it takes only a direct object, not an indirect object, and the recipient of what is conferred must be expressed with a preposition phrase, usually headed by on or upon, although to and with are found in very old writings.

okThe university conferred a degree on him. BUT NOT
The university conferred him a degree.

Consequently only the direct object, the degree, may stand as the subject of a passive construction.

okA degree was conferred on him by the univesity. BUT NOT
He was conferred a degree by the university.

If you need to make he the subject of a passive construction, you must use another verb such as grant or award:

okHe was granted a degree by the university.
okHe was awarded a degree by the university.

Of course you may make he the subject of an active verb such as earn

okHe earned a degree from the university.

ADDED: Arrowfar points out that your variant be conferred with has appeared in a number of Irish, Australian and South Asian sources: He was conferred with a degree. The active version is much rarer however; I take this to be an error derived from confusion with the use of confer with in the sense have a discussion with.

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.