What is wrong with this passive form?


He is not satisfied.
He is not profited.
He is not injured by it.
He is not controlled by them.
He is not worried.
He is not ashamed.
He is not tied to it.
He is not naked.
He is not extended.

All of the above sentences are in the passive form. Then, why can't I say this?

He is not started the meeting.

Amisha J

Posted 2014-06-04T18:54:19.133

Reputation: 117

1The meeting is the direct object of start there and would have to be the subject of a passive construction. By the way, naked looks like a past participle, and it may have been one perhaps 500 years before English was born; but there is no verb to nake (though one was invented about 1300 and used occasionally for the next two or three hundred years). – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-06-04T20:44:58.463



"is", or "to be" implies that something is modifying "he". The sentence

He is not satisfied.

is correct because "satisfied" is describing a property of "he".

He is not profited.

is incorrect because "profited" is not describing a property of "he". In this case, the correct phrasing would be

He has not profited.

I believe it's because profited and started are closer to verbs than nouns. People who know more than me about grammar can provide a more technical and correct reason. :)

Greg D

Posted 2014-06-04T18:54:19.133

Reputation: 216

+1 That's basically the whole banana. If you want to sound like a Real Linguist you can say that satisfied, etc. are 'deverbals'. But that's just a name. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-06-04T20:34:07.263

Wait, I thought "he is not profited" is correct if archaic, e.g. "He is not profited by his crimes." No? (I am reminded of the similar but different "It little profits that an idle king [...] I mete and dole// Unequal laws unto a savage race [...]" (Tennyson, "Ulysses")) – Codeswitcher – 2014-06-04T20:46:25.230

1@codeswitcher You are correct; but the use is now entirely defunct. Google Books does not provide a single instance in the last twenty years, except quotations and reprints of older works. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-06-05T13:43:04.327