January 11, 2011

Could an imperative mood be passivized?

Here is the question on 01/10/2011) from the fb page . And the poster asks:
Please somebody help me what is the passive of: “Shame on you!” can it be “Let shame be on you!” We have many controversies here in Nepal regarding grammar… teachers use question tags in proverbs and axioms but i feel it is to be used only to confirm statements and thoughts. like: Barking dogs seldom bite, do they? but i write “isn’t it?” -- Jaya Narayan Bhusal

The rule of thumb is that an action in passive voice requires the transitivity (of verb) for thematic participants unless the axiom from which the mood arrives is in a pseudo form or on the underlying inherent base structure which is confirmed with its thematic participants—hence the subject receive the action (e.g. ‘be ashamed’ (but the subject is in ellipsis, or the subject is as a proximate disjoint person in pragmatics)).

On to the next comment, the example is closely related to the aphorisms that can interestingly be tagged in conversational maxims, like any other forms to which their semantic derivations are regarded as the analogues of their surface syntactic axioms.

The only problem here is the imperatives, like–

Go for swimming,…would you?

(perhaps a little bit awk, while there are two parts)

You will go for swimming today, wouldn’t you?

(which is alright to me.)

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