Verbs not used in the passive

Not all verbs can have passive forms. Passive structures are not possible with intransitive verbs like die, cry or arrive, which cannot have objects.

  • He died yesterday.
  • The baby cried aloud.

Some transitive verbs, too, are seldom used in the passive. Most of these verbs refer to states, not actions. Examples are: have, lack, resemble, suit etc.

  • I have a house in the city. (BUT NOT A house is had by me.)
  • My shirt doesn’t fit me. (BUT NOT I am not fitted by my shirt.)
  • You lack tact. (BUT NOT Tact is lacked by you.)
  • She resembles an angel. (BUT NOT An angel is resembled by her.)

Some prepositional verbs are mainly used in the active. Examples are: walk into, agree with.

  • We walked into the room. (BUT NOT The room was walked into by us.)
  • She agreed with me. (BUT NOT I was agreed with by her.)

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