many people

Which are correct:

[color=darkred]1-Many people built that bridge.
[color=red]2-Many people built that bridge together.
[color=indigo]3-That bridge was built by many people.
[color=blue]4-There were many people who built that bridge.


  1. The common active form,
  2. not specifically incorrect, but ‘together’ would be considered unnecessary unless there were a real case for pointing out that they worked as a team,
  3. the common passive form,
  4. not specifically incorrect but the tense is a strange choice, focussing on the people no longer being alive.

Thanks a lot Beeesneees for all you replies.

I had not even thought of the fact that sentence was talking about the people who built the bridge and are not no longer alive.

Could one use this one:

[color=red]5-There are many people who built that bridge.

What bothers me in 5 is that to me it sort of sounds like each of them made that bridge.

There are many people who participated in the building of that bridge.

sounds correct to me.

You have to apply common sense, Navi. No one in their right mind would think that this sentence meant tha the bridge was made, torn down and remade by so many different people, unless it were within the context of some sort of construction model or science exhibition which was supposed to be used in that way.

Generally, native English speakers don’t have the same concerns over ambiguity as you obviously have from your questions. They just take the sentence within a context and apply the meaning which makes sense. Occasionally ambiguity will remain and further clarification will be required, but most of the time, it is enough to do that.

Thank you very much Beeesneees.

Point taken! You have figured me out pretty well! I do have a tendency to look for ambiguous sentences.


Shouldn’t the second “not” be considered as redundant?

“…and are not no longer alive.”


I can’t see much sense in using the passive voice with the agent mentioned.

Do you agree? Thanks

Why not?
It’s one of the rare occasions where the passive voice structure actually seems as natural as the active voice.

The reason.

I’ve read in a book that the passive voice is usually used when I want to hide the agent. In this case I do not want to hide the agent but emphasise it.

In this case I want to say that many people were involved in building the bridge. So “many people”, as a subject, should be put in front of the sentence. The bridge isn’t in focus but the way of building it.

Many people built that bridge.

My additional question.

Is “many” a determiner in this sentence? Thanks

That is false logic as an answer. The original sentences are devoid of context here, so you have no way of knowing whether someone else wishes to ‘hide or emphasise’ the agent.
You have decided that the focus of the sentence should be the number of people.
Someone else, in another context, may wish the focus of the sentence to be the bridge.

Yes E2e4. In that respect you are right. I made a mistake. The “not” is not just redundant. It is simply wrong, as far as I can see.