PERSONAL AND IMPERSONAL PASSIVE

ayman posted:

Is it  Ok to use "suggest" in the following form:

The party is suggested to (be / being) cancelled?

Hello, Ayman: The sentence doesn't work well with "be," and "being" would be ungrammatical there. You can use "suggest" in the passive, but first you need to decide what you want your sentence to mean.

If you want your passive sentence to indicate that someone has suggested (i.e., recommended) that the party be cancelled, then you can say:

(1) It has been suggested that the party be cancelled.

If you want your passive sentence to indicate that that someone has suggested (i.e., tentatively asserted) that the party has been cancelled, you can say:

(2) It has been suggested that the party was cancelled

(3) The party is suggested to have been cancelled.

If you use "be" in your sentence ("The party is suggested to be cancelled"), the meaning will be like that of (2) and (3). Cancelled" will have a stative, adjectival meaning: cf. "The party is cancelled."

I prefer the perfect infinitive: ". . . to have been cancelled."

 

Hi, Ayman,

Thank you for sending us a picture of the page in question, which confirms what David has told you.

According to the book, "suggest" can only be used with pattern (B), that is:

- It + be + suggested + that + Subject + verb in the indicative mood (in this case "suggest" is similar to "indicate" or "hint"):

It has been suggested that the party was cancelled.

- It + be + suggested + that + Subject + verb in the subjunctive mood (in this case "suggest" is synonymous with "recommend"):

It has been suggested that the party (should) be cancelled.

"the party" can be the subject of "suggest" in the passive only when "suggest" means "assert tentatively." In your example with the verb "cancel," the perfect infinitive works better because it refers to the past:

- Apparently the party was a disaster -> The party is suggested to have been a disaster.

If the meaning is not past, then a simple infinitive may be used:

- Apparently the party is only for couples -> The party is suggested to be only for couples.

 

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