Beware of Rules: Passive Verbs By Zombies

24 Aug

Let me start by saying that I am very sorry for being in the land of the lost. We went to South East Asia on an adventure and it never occurred to me that “the rainy season” would impact contact with the outside world to such an extent. Add to that… the rainy season means I got sever fungal infections and other interesting things that knocked me to the sidelines when we got home. Now… I’m human again.

Yesterday, I saw a picture on Facebook. It was captioned something like… you can tell when you are using passive voice in verbs if you can put By Zombies at the end of the sentence and it makes sense.

I guess I can agree with this in premise. For example…

I was eaten by zombies
I am being eaten by zombies
My dog was stepped on by zombies

These, the rule holds true.
However, like any self respecting grammar rule, it has its gotcha.

Holy cow, did you see that? She just ran by zombies.

This one is an active verb *ran* yet the sentence makes perfectly good sense and is grammatically correct as written.

I remember when the vowels were
A E I O U and sometimes Y and W too
And I before E Except after C… then they added… or when sounded like “ay” as in neighbor and weigh.

having handy dandy ways to remember things like that are great. And they get me out of some iffy grammar situations. But you still have to double check. I know that I am often accused (lovingly I hope) by friends of being a grammar nazi, but I had an awesome teacher in 9th grade that I truly liked (I was only one of a few who did). Miss Stuck was an English teacher. She taught me grammar, how to expand my vocabulary, and that The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as a gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.

Grammar isn’t always easy. And heaven knows English is among the worst (especially US English) but it’s something you CAN have fun with if you want. Just be careful how “by” is being used if you chose to decide if the the sentence was written by zombies, or if the logic of the sentence went right by zombies!

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