1. yokone
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    yokone Member

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    be broken, is broken, or was broken

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by yokone, Dec 30, 2010.

    Hi!!

    Again me guys.

    I was writing a sentence with "caused" but I couldn't be sure which of "be broken", "is broken", or "was broken" I have to use?

    Ex:

    The cat caused the vase be broken. OR
    The cat caused the vase was broken. OR
    The cat caused the vase is broken.

    I know that I can say it easily as "the cat broken the vase". However, I want learn how to write with "caused". Which of the sentence above is correct or the best?

    Thank you
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    The cat caused the vase to be broken OR
    The cat broke the vase. OR
    The cat caused the vase to break.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, what el said!

    none of your examples were correct grammar, yokone...
     
  4. yokone
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    yokone Member

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    Thank you

    Thank you and then what is the correct form other than above?
     
  5. Sarah's Mom
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    Sarah's Mom Member

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    "The cat rubbed up against the vase, pushing it off the table."

    As to the use of "caused:"

    "Earthquakes cause damage to structures and roadways."

    Her nasty attitude caused her to lose the promotion."

    If you say "the cat caused..." then your reader has no idea why the result happened. You use "cause" when the action is already obvious.

    if you say, "The cat caused the vase to break," which is an awkward, if correct, sentence, you then have to go on and answer the question in the reader's mind about how that happened.

    I have no idea what you are trying to accomplish, but you'd be well-served to juts post and chat for a couple months until your English improves and you get a feel for the idiomatic.
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I take it you mean which one of the above three sentence suggested by Elgaisma is correct? All three sentences are correct. It is a matter of choice/style. Choose which one flows/sounds the best.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes... all three are correct, depending on how/where you use them...
     
  8. yokone
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    yokone Member

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    Thanks...
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    To expand a little, in normal speech or writing one would most likely say "The cat broke the vase". "The cat caused the vase to be broken" and "The cat caused the vase to break" both sound very formal and academic. In "The cat caused the vase to be broken" the emphasis is on the final (broken) state of the vase, and in "The cat caused the vase to break" the emphasis is on the actual act of breaking.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    also...

    'the cat broke the vase' is in the 'active voice'

    'the cat caused the vase to be broken' is in the 'passive voice'

    and passive should be avoided in fiction, though it's often used effectively in non-fiction...
     
  11. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's often effective in fiction too. Beginners tend to over-use it, hence the usual advice to avoid it, but it shouldn't be completely avoided.

    'The cat caused the vase to be broken' is active voice, by the way, not passive. The verb is "caused", and the subject of the verb, "cat", is the agent.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Would the:

    the vase was broken by the cat - be middle voice? I know the casserole cooked in the oven. is.

    I know I use middle voice a lot but have never been sure what it is - used to drive one of my professor's nuts. I know once you get into colloquial and slang there are other voices available that are considered 'incorrect' in English.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's passive (specifically long passive -- "The vase was broken" would be short passive).
    Really? As far as I'm aware, English doesn't have a middle voice. According to Wikipedia, languages that have middle voice use it where we would use things like intransitivity. Wikipedia gives the casserole cooked in the oven as an example of something that is not middle voice in English but would be in other languages.
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    no idea lol It was why I asked - I misread Wikkipedia sorry looked it up before posted. It was something he kept sticking in red pen he was possibly just ranting he was a bit weird. Had issues with me having a Scottish education. Despite me discovering his degree was from Aberdeen University. I never did understand what he was on about. :)

    I just write what works in the situation sometimes that involved active voice in academics and sometimes passive voice in fiction.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    deleted dupe
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, dig!... you're right.. for 'passive' i should have written:

    the vase was broken by the cat...

    must have written that before i had my morning's green tea!
     

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