Before I was bored, my grandmother was died. Wait wait…hold on, I know this is a sensitive subject,
but please, explain. Hmm, I mean, it sound like you said, you gave birth to yourself before your grandmother was dead, but she’s alive now. You get it? I mean, Japan is such a mysterious place, to us foreigners that we might actually believe you could give birth to yourself, and you could raise people from the dead. Like Jesus, I mean it happened.
But, instead, I think in this case you’re trying to say, “before I was born, my grandmother passed away.” Alright, the polite form of ‘die’ is ‘pass away.’
So, instead of ‘died,’ you can say ‘passed away. ’ So, let’s master English before the chance passes away. Okay, we can do it. Just you and I.
“Before I was borned, my grandmother was died.”
“I was borned.”, was written by one of my students.
What a diligent mistake. It brings light to the layers of differences between English and Japanese.
How to use ‘born’
In Japanese, I recognize that the passive form for ‘give birth’（生まれる）is used to expresses when you come into the world. So, the student tried to make a passive sentence with “born” and added “ed” to change it to a past participle.
However, “born” is actually an adjective so there is no need for them change the form. Because English speakers use the phrase “I was born” practically unconsciously, I myself, never noticed that the word ‘born’ was an adjective. I viewed it as a passive action that happened to me too!
Instead, “born” is an adjective used the same way as ‘I was hot’, ‘I was happy’, and ‘I was full’.
- I was born.
What a puzzle!
The adjective “born” is rooted in the verb “bear”, which normally means to hold up something, give birth to something, or produce fruits.
This is conjugated as an irregular verb in the forms: bear – bore – borne
Notice the past participle is very similar to the adjective ‘born’….
However, when used in the context of giving birth to children, we use it primarily to express one’s ability to have children.
As in: “She could bare children in her 40’s, but not her 50’s.”
Most of the time we just say, “She could have children”!!
English has so many twist, turns, and exceptions that you may feel it’s hard to live with the confusion.
But you’ll live, I promise you won’t die from this.
How to use ‘die’
Next, let’s look at where my student said, “my grandmother was died.”
The word ‘die’ is an intransitive verb. Meaning it makes the person who dies the subject. You can’t use it in a passive form, because it is an action that you do alone. Unless something forced death upon you, which would be “kill”. ‘She was killed’ is grammatically correct. But my student wasn’t intending to express this type of nuance.
The word “die” is used like any other activity that you can do alone, such as ‘She lived’, ‘He ate’ and ‘It slept’.
- She died.
When referring to a loved one, or when intending to show respect, a different term should be used: “pass away”. The same way Japanese people use 「死ぬ」and「亡くなる」appropriately, “passed away” (past tense), should be used.
- She passed away.
We’re hopeful that this article, and all the material we provide at Eigo2020 will save the dreams you have with a reinvigorated English ability, that will surely not pass away.
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