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I'm curious if it's grammatically correct to make suggestions with passive verbs. Like "Let's get killed".

All I can think of is a suggestion with the causative verb "让我死吧".

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  • 吧 or 吗? You wrote 吧 in the title and 吗 in the description.
    – Mou某
    Feb 6, 2018 at 0:10
  • @user3306356 感谢你的指出 Feb 6, 2018 at 9:35

3 Answers 3

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As I understand your question, you are asking Can 吧 work with passive voice (verbs), like let's get killed?

The answer is yes or no. Yes in interrogative sentences . For example, 你被打了吧? No in affirmative sentences. The way we interpret "let's get killed" is 让我们死了算了。

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Yes, it would be grammatically correct but wouldn't sound right.

However,

Using (ba) which is called a tone softener is used to add causality or make the language sound less severe; adding it on to a sentence such as 'Let's get killed' would sound funny, almost jokingly.

For example:

你看书吧。meaning: Read. To make this seem more polite, consider adding 请.

你看书。(!)Read(./!) normal severity

你现在看书!Read now! extreme severity

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吧 is mostly used as 'modal particle'

Modal particles are words used at the end of sentences to indicate mood, or attitude.

It can be used in active or passive voice. Depend on the context or the tone of the speech, it can express a range of subtle mood or attitude.

Active voice:

"警察拘捕了他" = "the police arrested him" (plain statement)

"警察拘捕了他(吧)?" = "(seem like/ may be) the police arrested him?" ('吧?' here indicates doubt)

"让警察拘捕他吧" = "let the police arrest him!" (吧 here adds mood or attitude to the sentence. Depend on the context or the tone of the speech, it can either add passion to the sentence or soften it)

Passive voice:

"他被捕了" = "he was arrested" (plain statement)

"他被捕了(吧)?" = "(seem like/ may be) he was arrested?" ('吧?' here indicates doubt)

"让他被捕吧" = "let him be arrested" (吧 here adds mood or attitude to the sentence. Depend on the context or the tone of the speech, it can either add passion to the sentence or soften it)

Just like in English, active voice is preferred over passive voice when constructing sentences. There's nothing wrong with "让他被警察拘捕", but most of the time we would rather say "让警察拘捕他"

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  • 让他被捕吧 sounds rather unnatural. Feb 6, 2018 at 2:59
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    That's why we don't usually use passive voice. Although 让他被捕吧 (allow him to be arrested) sound fine in English
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 6, 2018 at 3:17

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