1

How do I make an interrogative voice sentence from a passive voice sentence? For example, we have the following sentence:

They will be offered in the fall semester.

How can I make this sentence into an interrogative voice sentence? Does this work well?

Will they be offered in the fall semester?

Thanks for your help

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jul 31 '15 at 16:59

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • "Will they be offered in the fall semester?" sounds like you're asking if a particular group of classes are happening in the fall. It is grammatical. – Sawbones Jul 31 '15 at 16:50
  • @Sawbones The purpose of the sentence is what you said; but how to make the sentence grammatically correct? – Sara Winslet Jul 31 '15 at 16:53
  • It is correct as is. You could also say "Will the classes be offered in the fall semester?" – Sawbones Jul 31 '15 at 17:11
  • 3
    Or "When will the classes be offered?" Or "Is it in the fall semester that they will be offered?" Or "Who will offer the classes in the fall semester?" Or "Will they actually be offered in the fall semester, or is the administration just trying to mess up my schedule?" – StoneyB Jul 31 '15 at 17:14
  • Yes, your interrogative sentence is correct. – Chad Jul 31 '15 at 17:22
3

The passive applies as though auxiliaries were not present, and then any auxiliaries take part in subject-auxiliary inversion just as they would in an active sentence. This is one of the arguments for deriving auxiliaries from outside the core part of a sentence (by a version of Subject Raising).

So, without passive, we have

  1. will [ someone offer courses ]
  2. someone will offer courses (by Subject-Raising)
  3. will someone offer courses? (by Subject-Aux Inversion)

And with passive, we have

  1. will [ someone offer courses ]
  2. will [ courses be offered by someone ] (by Passive applying to lower clause)
  3. courses will be offered by someone (by Subject-Raising)
  4. will courses be offered by someone? (by Subject-Aux Inversion)

Examples with more complicated sets of auxiliaries work the same: "Courses should have been being offered" = "Someone should have been offering courses".

This is an outline of the treatment in McCawley's TSPE.

  • Thanks, as I understood there is actually no difference between the role of modal verbs in active and passive voice sentences when turning them into an interrogative voice sentence; am I right? – Sara Winslet Jul 31 '15 at 17:27
  • Yes, that's right. – Greg Lee Jul 31 '15 at 17:31

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.