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Subject: Passive Voice and Children
Question: How old are children when they begin to comprehend passive verbs? Specifically, when are they able to correctly parse the relation between actors and verbs so that, given the sentence ''The lion was being chased by the tiger,'' they know that the tiger was doing the chasing?

Reply: it depends. There are several types of passives.
Most passives in natural conversation do not have overt agents, and most full
passives are nonreversible, meaning that if the subject and object were switched,
the resulting sentence would be unacceptable. A full passive such as you used is
therefore quite rare. I don't know the exact age at which they're mastered, but I
can tell you that even adults have problems processing them.
Reply From: Susan D Fischer      click here to access email
 
Date: 06-Apr-2014
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Passive Voice and Children    James L Fidelholtz     (24-Jun-2014)
  2. Re: Passive Voice and Children    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (09-Apr-2014)

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