Sybil
A question about passive voice *The books sell well. Why in this sentence it uses "sell" instead of "are sold"? More examples like: *This cloth washes (is washed) easily. *The door won't lock. (won't be locked) So how to understand these sentences? And how to translate them into Chinese? I'm looking forward your answer.
Dec 2, 2016 2:35 AM
Answers · 4
'The books sell well' means many people want to buy the books, a variation would be 'The books are selling well', which means people are constantly buying the books. 'The books are sold well' is incorrect grammar, one would say 'The books have sold well', which means the books are sold out (no books are left) 'The door won't lock' means there is a technical failure preventing the lock from working, = the lock is faulty. 'The door won't be locked' has a completely different meaning. It means there are no people who will lock the door, although there is lock which works. Both phrases can be used when there is no lock at all. 'This cloth washes easily' has the same meaning as 'This cloth is easily washed'. It is a matter of taste, which phrase you use. Can't translate into Chines, because I don't speak Chines
December 2, 2016
You can't say "are sold well" and I can't really explain why (but I'm sure someone else can), however, you could equally well say "the books sell in Costco" or "the books are sold in Costco" (Costco is a very popular store in America). The second form is more common though. Similarly "the door won't lock" means that there is a problem with the door and until it is fixed, it will never lock. "won't be locked" means that at a particular time, it will not be locked, but immediately before and after that somebody could have locked it and there is no problem that stops them from doing so.
December 2, 2016
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Sybil
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English