to keep quiet

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to keep quiet

Post by navi » Tue Feb 09, 2021 12:55 am

Which are correct:

1) He was killed to keep him quiet.
2) He was killed to be kept quiet.

3) He was killed to keep quiet.
(meaning: He was killed so that he would keep quiet.)

4) He was killed in order to keep him quiet.

5) He was killed in order to be kept quiet.

6) He was kidnapped to toil in a mine as a slave.
7) He was kidnapped to become a slave.
8 ) He was kidnapped to be exploited in a mine as a slave.


Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: to keep quiet

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:16 pm

Most of those sentences sound peculiar. The main reason is their non-standard use of intransitive constructions.
navi wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 12:55 am Which are correct:

1) He was killed to keep him quiet. Standard usage.

2) He was killed to be kept quiet. A piece of information may be kept quiet. But to make a person keep quiet as the result of an action requires the kind of construction employed in 1).

3) He was killed to keep quiet. A standard usage of this idiom would be the intransitive construction "X {{is / was} keeping quiet / kept quiet}". You can't use it transitively without explicitly specifying the object of the action in the idiom: "He was killed to keep him quiet".

(meaning: He was killed so that he would keep quiet.)

4) He was killed in order to keep him quiet.
Standard usage. A minor variation on 1).
5) He was killed in order to be kept quiet. See comments for 2) and 3).

6) He was kidnapped to toil in a mine as a slave. "He was kidnapped to make him toil in a mine as a slave." See comment for 3).

7) He was kidnapped to become a slave. "He was kidnapped to make him become a slave." You can become a slave (an intransitive construction). But if you are described as becoming enslaved by someone, they make you become a slave, which requires a verb and an object.

8 ) He was kidnapped to be exploited in a mine as a slave. This seems OK to me, though I would probably reorder the sequence of elements and make the exploitation active rather than passive: "He was kidnapped to exploit him as a slave in a mine" (or, more succinctly, "He was kidnapped [ in order] to enslave him in a mine").
No doubt Phil, with his much better grasp of grammatical concepts and terminology than I possess, will be able to add some pertinent comments of his own.
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