Passive voice

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Hi, I was told that the following sentence is passive, but I do not understand why that is the case. Please explain.  :-) Thank you!    "Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin."  By the way, is the verb in this sentence, "was born" (helping verb+main verb)?

passive voice asked Apr 09 '13 at 17:22 AZTeach New member

1 answer


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Most dictionaries will call 'born' an adjective in this use. This means 'was' is simply a linking verb, which would not be passive voice.

'Born' is also the past tense of 'to bear'. If you consider 'born' as a verb in your sentence, it would be in passive voice. There may be differences of opinion whether it's a verb or adjective here, but it is still a proper sentence. To describe someone's birth in active voice, the mother will have to be included in the sentence. That's a lot of work.

Abraham Lincoln's mother gave birth to him in a log cabin.

link comment answered Apr 09 '13 at 17:32 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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