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Shakespeare's Hamlet: Philosophical Perspectives

A play that is worth watching usually engages its watchers emotionally.



Why is the sentence not passive, like ' is worth being watched.'

If 'a play' the object of the verb, 'watch,  is fronted  , would it be passive?

Many thanks in advance.

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Hi, Dude,

In English, certain verbs or verb phrases are followed by V-ing with a passive meaning. These include need, want, require, be worth.

For you to understand the rationale underlying this idiomatic use, you can imagine that the V-ing corresponds to a tacit subject's action, with the stated subject being the object of that action, for example:

- This play is worth (your) watching (it) => This play is worth watching (this play deserves that you watch it)

- This wall needs (somebody) painting (it) => This wall needs painting (this wall needs that somebody paint it)

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

Hi, Dude,

In English, certain verbs or verb phrases are followed by V-ing with a passive meaning. These include need, want, require, be worth.

For you to understand the rationale underlying this idiomatic use, you can imagine that the V-ing corresponds to a tacit subject's action, with the stated subject being the object of that action, for example:



What an amazing explanation! Thanks a lot.

Your examples are very helpful.

'Watching' and 'painting in your examples are gerund, correct?

If then, I have one more thing to ask.

How can I distinguish 'needs somebody painting it' and ' needs somebody to painting it'?

Still need your help, thanks in advance.

This play is worth (your) watching (it)

- This wall needs (somebody) painting (it)

Last edited by Dude
@Dude posted:

'Watching' and 'painting in your examples are gerund, correct?

Actually, they are -ing forms.

@Dude posted:

How can I distinguish 'needs somebody painting it' and ' needs somebody to painting it'?

The first one I only used to explain how "painting" is to be interpreted in that construction. The second one, which could also be similarly used, should be: need somebody to paint it.

Notice, however, that the natural forms are:

- This wall needs painting.
- This wall needs to be painted.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

Gustavo's explanation is very detailed. I would also like to add that such authors as Shakespeare used a lot of expressions and words that are obsolete today. The writing style of his plays is considered as complicated. If you want to understand these moments better, I recommend checking out an essay about the creative process in Shakespeare's works - various writers and critics have acclaimed his works as rich in both technical skills and creativity, so it is an interesting topic to explore. You can find research about his Hamlet below as well. Also, there are plenty of opinions on the problem of Shakespeare's authorship - I mean the problem whether Shakespeare was the author of all the plays he had written or it was absolutely another person or even a group of people. It is worth research to figure it out, in my opinion.

Gustavo's explanation is very detailed. I would also like to add that such authors as Shakespeare used a lot of expressions and words that are obsolete today. The writing style of his plays is considered as complicated. If you want to understand these moments better, I recommend checking out an essay about the creative process in Shakespeare's works - various writers and critics have acclaimed his works as rich in both technical skills and creativity, so it is an interesting topic to explore. You can find research about his Hamlet below as well. Also, there are plenty of opinions on the problem of Shakespeare's authorship - I mean the problem whether Shakespeare was the author of all the plays he had written or it was absolutely another person or even a group of people. It is worth research to figure it out, in my opinion.

Thanks for the information.

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