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This camera was bought me by my father


8 Apr 2004
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Dear native English speakers,
I have another question.

(a) My father bought me this camera.
(b) This camera was bought me by my father.
(c) This camera was bought for me by my father.
(d) I was bought this camera by my father.
(e) I got my father to buy this camera.
(f) I had my father buy this camera.
(g) I got this camera bought by my father.
(h) I had this camera bought by my father.

(a) and (e) sound right to me. But how about the others? Would they
ever be used by native speakers?

I guess (e) is a little different in meaning from (a). Am I right?



12 Oct 2013
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a) Valid > Clear, succinct, correct. The best choice, I think.
b) Invalid
c) Valid > Some recommend writing in the active rather than the passive. I think it is a rule that can be ignored.
d) Valid > As above.
e) Valid, but as you suspected, the introduction of "got" implies that you somehow coerced your father to buy the camera. This nuance of coercion adds a dimension to this sentence that is not present in the other examples.
f) Valid, but as above there is an element of coercion in this sentence that may be unintended or unwelcome. It could also imply something about the payment method, that may also be unintended.
g) Valid, but again the meaning changes. This could mean your father bought the camera, perhaps without the intention of ever giving it to you. Somehow you inherited the camera.
h) There may not be any grammatical crimes committed in this sentence structure, but it sounds so odd that that I cannot imagine anyone saying this phrase. The past tense "had" indicates you no longer are in possession of the camera, which sounds weird because the "this" makes it sound as though the camera is right in front of you. Together with the passive voice makes this a very contrived, tortured, weird sentence.

In the hierarchy of these choices, I would go for

e), f), and g) all contain some extra information that may not be intended.
h) has a conflict of tenses that sounds dissonant.


27 Apr 2014
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h) might be said when pointing to a picture of the camera in question, or a different camera of the same model (as in, "I used to have a camera like this"). But even then, the sentence indeed sounds very strange.
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