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See also: pseudo-passive


Alternative forms[edit]


pseudo- +‎ passive


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pseudopassive (plural pseudopassives)

  1. (grammar) A construction where the object of a preposition has been promoted to the role of subject, as in The problem was talked about.
    • 1991, Reineke Bok-Bennema, Case and Agreement in Inuit, Berlin: Foris, ISBN 9783110869156, page 97:
      Consider the English pseudo-passive in (4). (4) This bed has not been slept in for many years
  2. (grammar) A construction that removes the subject from an intransitive verb, as in the Dutch sentence Er wordt gefloten ("[Someone] whistled").
    • 1976, Robert Kirsner, “On the subjectless 'pseudo-passive' in Standard Dutch and the semantics of background agents”, in Charles N. Li, editor, Subject and Topic, New York: Academic Press, OCLC 879143180, page 391:
      Consider now the pseudo-passive, Er werd gefloten "There was whistling." Here, just as in the true passive, the morphology asserts high participant not focussed.



  1. (grammar) Of or related to the pseudopassive.
    • 1971, Manindra K. Verma, The Structure of the Noun Phrase in English and Hindi, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, OCLC 247256, page 157:
      A kind of ‘pseudo-passive’ construction is possible, though, with intransitive verbs having a prepositional phrase complement.
  2. Nearly passive; relatively passive.
    • 1996, G.T. Burstein and V.C. Salter, “The growth of pits during the electrograining of aluminum”, in Madhav Datta, B.R. MacDougall, and James Fenton, editors, Proceedings of the Symposium on High Rate Metal Dissolution Processes, Pennington, NJ: Electrochemical Society, ISBN 1566771145, page 133:
      The magnitude of the current density within the region is, of course, too high to be regarded as passive in the conventional sense, and we coin the term "pseudopassive" to describe it.
  3. Resembling (something) passive.
    • 2002, Martin Kantor, Passive-aggression: A Guide for the Therapist, the Patient, and the Victim, Westport, CT: Praeger, ISBN 0275974227, page 85:
      Some patients who look passive-aggressive are still pseudopassive-aggressive because though they are difficult, covertly hostile people [...] they are suffering from another emotional disorder.