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I want to make the sentence "All clean recyclable items go into your recycling bin" passive.

But "all clean items are gone into your recycling bin" sounds wrong.

Can this sentence be made passive?

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  • I think the "go" in that sentence makes it sort-of passive already. The items don't go by themselves, they are put in the recycling bin by someone. Notice how easily you can turn it into an active statement: "Put all clean recyclable items in your recycling bin". Feb 24, 2016 at 5:33
  • It might have something to do with "go" being intransitive in this sentence. Afaik it's easier to make a passive sentence with a verb with a direct object. In this case "put" can take the direct object which is "items" but with "go", "items" must be the subject of the verb "go". Feb 24, 2016 at 5:40

2 Answers 2

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Can this sentence be made passive? No.

The standard grammatical pattern for an active sentence to be made passive is that it contains: 1) a subject noun phrase showing the 'actor' (or do-er) of an action, 2) a transitive verb (that is, one which takes a direct object), and 3) an object noun phrase showing the 'patient' (or 'done-to') of the action.

The original sentence does not have any of these, so it cannot be made passive. 'All clean recyclable items' is not the 'actor' of this action (the people holding the items are), 'go' is not a transitive verb (you cannot 'go a person', 'go a place' or 'go a thing'), and 'into your recycling bin' is not a direct object (it's a prepositional phrase showing the 'goal', that is 'the place to which something moves' (or is moved)).

So, no.

(I am also wondering why you want to make this sentence passive.)

(Main reference: Huddleston and Pullum, A Student's Introduction to English Grammar.)

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Let all clean recyclable items be placed into your recycling bin.

The original sentence is imperative, so if the active is "do it", the passive is "let it be done". This form seems to be most heard in the speech of gods and kings. They are stating policy. It is someone else's job to ensure policy gets followed.

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