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Retained Object




Retained Object :


When a verb takes both a direct and an indirect object, one of the two is often retained after the passive, the other becoming the subject. Thus….

1. The indirect object is retained.

Active Voice…….Passive Voice

1. My aunt gave me this watch. …….This watch was given me by my aunt.

2. We allowed them free choice. …….Free choice was allowed them.

3. He allowed each speaker an hour. …….An hour was allowed each speaker.

4. Congress granted me a pension…….. A pension was granted me.

Note : The preposition TO is often inserted in the passive construction, especially with a noun such as….A small pension was granted to Dr. Johnson.

2. The direct object is retained.

Active Voice…….Passive Voice

1. We allowed them their choice. …….They were allowed their choice.

2. He allowed each speaker an hour. …….Each speaker was allowed an hour.

3. They showed me the way. …….I was shown the way.

4. Experience has taught me wisdom. …….I have been taught wisdom by experience.

The direct object after a passive verb is often called the
retained object.

Note : This construction, though common, is avoided by many careful writers, except in a few well-established idioms. Its habitual use gives one’s style a heavy and awkward air. Instead of “He was given permission," one may say “He received permission"; instead of “I was given this watch by my aunt," either “It was my aunt who gave me this watch" or “This watch was a present from my aunt.

The verb ASK, which may take two direct objects, (one denoting the person, the other the thing ) sometimes retains its second object in the passive construction.

Active : We asked him his opinion.

Passive : He was asked his opinion.


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