I have a question about the usage of the noun "trial". Most dictionaries say the following usages:

  1. The case went to trial.
  2. The case came to trial.
  3. He was brought to trial.

are standard English. But I found on the web the following usages:

  1. The case was taken to trial.
  2. He was taken to trial.

which I cannot find in dictionaries. Are "take a case to trial" and "take somebody to trial" wrong? Or are they standard English that should have been included in dictionaries?

  • 3
    I'm sorry, but why would you expect a dictionary's definition of a noun to list every possible verb that can be used with the noun? That would be virtually impossible. Dictionaries can give examples of verbs you can use, but that doesn't mean no other verbs are permissible.
    – SegNerd
    Jul 20, 2016 at 0:51
  • What @SegNerd said, especially since the only difference is intransitive or passive.
    – user32753
    Dec 15, 2016 at 2:01

1 Answer 1


The two uses are essentially the same; the difference is minimal. The main difference is not the verb "take" but the use of the passive. "The case went to trial" is more of a neutral statement describing the process that the case went through. "The case was taken to trial" is in the passive, which implies an agent: "Somebody took the case to trial." Here, we might infer that there were other options available besides trial: a settlement, a mediation, etc., but someone (plaintiff, defendant, lawyer) decided that trial was their preferred option. Context would make it clear. Without context, there isn't a significant difference among these examples.

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