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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > passive sentences     

passive sentences


passive sentences
Hello everyone , 

I would be grateful if you discussed this sentence with me .

What is the most accurate answer  here ?

By 1997 the tunnel ----------------------by over a million .
   was used     -  was being used  

I checked it in my teachers book it was chosen as   ( was being used )

 but I doubt such an answer  . What do you think ?

personally ,I think it should be  ( had been used )

Do you think that  ( by)  here can mean  ( during )  so they used it as progressive tense .

Thank you all.

17 Apr 2013      

United States

if you added "per year" to the end of the sentence it would make better sense.

17 Apr 2013     

asser saidi

by means that the action was in progress so was being used shoul be the right answer but no way to be had been used

17 Apr 2013     

United States

I agree with Douglas, although the "per year" is somewhat implied. It would definitely make it clearer.
I disagree with asser saidi. It definitely could also be "had been used". In fact, that was what first came to my mind before I read the choices.

17 Apr 2013     


They �re both correct for different reasons. As an aside, I think the word "people" or "travellers" needs to appear at the end of this sentence, unless it �s following a previous sentence which mentions them.

By 1997 the tunnel had been used by over a million people. (Between the building of the tunnel and 1997, 1 million+ people had been through it.)

By 1997 the tunnel was being used by over a million people. (1997 was the year when the number of regular/yearly users topped 1 million.)

"was used" would work if the preposition was "in": In 1997 the tunnel was used by over a million people. (In 1997 alone, 1 million+ people went through the tunnel.) 

17 Apr 2013     


To me, either was being used or had been used are ok.  There is a slight difference in meaning, but it �s that livingness again.  We know what is meant and only strict grammarians can tell the difference (imho) - no offence intended

17 Apr 2013