On Fri, Oct 26, 2001 at 05:26:46PM -0400, Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Odd - I'd never thought of "smells" in sentences like "It smells good" as
> anything but a plain, boring, active verb.

Um, to me, it's anything but plain... because in my L1, you *don't* use a
verb for things like this, you use an adjective -- equivalent of "it is
smelly". It's sorta like a statement about a static attribute as opposed
to a sentence like
        He runs.
in which there is an active action happening.

And as to the verb being *active*, in my mind it's anything *but* active
:-) Of course, in English grammar it is, but keep in mind that English
isn't exactly typical of what happens in other languages.

> Why would one characterize it as
> middle or passive voice?

Because it's a verb that really isn't "doing an action"? To say "smells"
is passive in this case might be a bit of a stretch, unless you explain it
as, it's undergoing the process of being smelly or something like that.
But middle voice makes perfect sense here, since the subject "it" is not
volitionally "smelling", but it non-volitionally smells.

Of course, I don't claim to be a linguist, so anyone who knows better
please feel free to give me a clue. :-)


Let's eat some disquits while we format the biskettes.