Become with Passive Voice

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Apr 28 16:32:49 UTC 2009

At 11:54 AM -0400 4/28/09, Baker, John wrote:
>         The OED says, "In English, the passive voice usually consists of
>an auxiliary (freq. be; occas. also get, become, etc.) plus the past
>participle of the verb."  I don't have any concrete examples using
>become to put forward.
>John Baker

Ah, the tricky part is whether the past participle of the verb (as in
"tired" or "interested") is necessarily itself a verb form (as these
are not).  If not, "became interested/tired" are instances of become
+ "passive voice"; if so, not.  Note that the good cases with
"become" all allow modification of the participle with "very" where
the semantics permits, which is (always?) impossible with verbal
passives, as well as blocking true agentive by-phrases.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
>Of Laurence Horn
>Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 11:26 AM
>Subject: Re: Become with Passive Voice
>At 10:49 AM -0400 4/28/09, Baker, John wrote:
>>          The passive voice usually requires the use of to be, or
>>sometimes to get, as an auxiliary verb.  Can to become, or other
>>auxiliary verbs, also be used?  Authoritative sources seem to differ,
>>or perhaps I simply fail to understand them correctly.
>>John Baker
>While "become" can be followed by a passive (past) participle, the
>general interpretation of such cases, AFAIK, is that those are
>adjectives or adjectival "passives".  So we can become tired, but we
>can't become tired out by exercising, the way we can be kissed or
>killed by strangers or get arrested by the cops.   Which sort of
>cases are you thinking of?
>The American Dialect Society -

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