Is “This room was slept in by Milton” grammatical even though ‘sleep’ is an intransitive verb?

I edited my question, which got at least 6 upvotes, explaining why it was not a duplicate. It received an answer that got 16 upvotes. Others suggested merging or reopening procedures. But it's still marked as a duplicate.

the most upvoted answer there does not address the property of intransitive as assigned by the dictionary, which is an integral part of this question. In addition the same answer there is confusing because it says both that transitivity is not a property of verbs and yet ends up talking about transitive verbs. In addition, the same answer does not explicitly deal with verbs other than "sense verbs". So I'm not sure if that answer applies to to sleep.

  • They are definitely duplicates. I've voted to close the older, poorer question as a duplicate of this one.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


I would advise that even if this is a duplicate, which is something I am unqualified to assess, your question is better, and so are the answers. This is not only determined by the votes, but the sheer amount of effort put into the posts. The other question doesn't even provide details regarding what type of research was done, or a context to help us understand the problem.

Your question is a far more useful, and exemplary question in its present state, and duplicate question guidelines in How should duplicate questions be handled? suggest that it should be given preference:

Usually a recent question will be closed as a duplicate of an older question, but this isn't an absolute rule. The general rule is to keep the question with the best collection of answers, and close the other one as a duplicate.

On the old question, only Professor Lawler's answer has a positive voting score at 7 votes, and it does not seem to be anywhere near as informative or referenced as tchrist's which has 16 votes for it. I think we should at least reopen this (if not change the canonical question).

However, as long as I am here, I should add that I do not think the provided answers have bearing on whether or not a question is a duplicate or not. I think that should be determined by the scope of the question, and the answers it is likely to receive.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .