LINGUIST List 9.1041

Thu Jul 16 1998

Disc: Passives

Editor for this issue: Julie Wilson <>


  1. Jack Quintero, Passives

Message 1: Passives

Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 15:57:45 -0700
From: Jack Quintero <>
Subject: Passives

I just found the site, a great one, and your article is the first one I
read. "He has been being naughty" is not a passive, continuous perfect
or otherwise, but a stative with the copula as V. You're right about
some of them sounding pretty good though, for example, "He had been
being beaten every night by his cruel stepfather by the time the welfare

agency came on the case." And, if you get rid of the "give," you can say

"For the firsts two weeks of the semester, the unwashed horde had been
being lectured to by the unqualifed standin. Then their actual
instructor came to their rescue." The trick to these constructions
sounding grammatical seems to me to lie in just how the moment of
speaking figures into the completed/ongoing relationship. Context makes
all the difference, as often.
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