My English really has been improved a lot...

Hi, all

  1. My English really has [color=blue]been improved a lot.
    My English really has improved a lot.

    Which one is correct? Why or why not?

    The situation is that I am talking about my experience that I have been to an English institute which is in Canada. I think that my English has improved a lot.

  2. I couldn’t stand up [color=blue]by myself.
    I couldn’t stand up myself.

    The situation is that I went to a night club a few years ago. At that moment, I drank too fast, so I couldn’t stand up by myself.

 Thanks a lot.


My English really has improved a lot.

I couldn’t stand up by myself.

These are the correct sentences.

Hi, all

  1. My English really has [color=blue]been improved a lot.
    My English really has improved a lot.

    Which one is correct? Why or why not?

Hello, Maggie.

(1) The language coach has already given you the answer.

(2) IMHO, the first sentence would be “good” English if you

finished it with a “by” phrase. Maybe something like:

My English really has been improved a lot by watching English-

language television two hours every day.

(Watching English-language television two hours every day

really has improved my English.)



That wouldn’t quite work, I’m afraid. there is still no need of ‘has been’.

My English has improved a lot by watching…

(1) Thank you for your kind note.

(2) You are the language coach, and – of course – the

learner should accept your answer as the correct one.

(3) Nevertheless, I stand by my answer.



I think the problem is in combining it with ‘improved’. Your structure works better with ‘help’:

My English has been helped a lot by…

Don’t ask me why, though!

I think the problem is that if you use “Have been” it should be followed by a gerund “Have been improving”. However, if he is talking about what have happened with his English he should just say “My english have improved a lot”.

“Have been improved” doesn’t make sense to me lol

I think the problem is in combining it with ‘improved’. Your structure works better with ‘help’:

My English has been helped a lot by…

Excellent point – as usual!!!


Thank you for your note.


I’m afraid ‘have improved…’ is not right either.

My English has improved a lot.

Hi, Beeesneees and James

First of all, thanks your help.

I actually haven’t got it so far. My question is that should this sentense be used as “passive”. I am thinking that my English will not be improved, butn my English should be
improved by something or some reasons, etc. Am I right?

For example , my book was picked up by a kind girl. My book wouldn’t pick up itself, would it?

You guys could try to help me. But if you still don’t know how can you explain, that’s find. I’ll accept it. It is one of the rules of Languages.


Hi Mag. You are partially right ,we need specific answer rather make for nothing digression which always distorts the congenial atmosphere -that is not welcome by any means .

Never mind ,we must concentrate to the problems not at the personal affairs -this is a great modern Management theory ! I attention here Mr. Torsten and Alan very much .

So far my knowledge , passive construction is generally not accepted in standards English (Pls. see GMAT suggestion books)

Again , If I say ---------By this time I have really been improved my English language ability a lot ----where is the ‘sin’ I can not readily identify ??? or My English has really been improved a lot ?

Could anybody explain me more explicit way that is most welcome ?

Beeesneees has given all of us a lot to think about. While we are waiting for more language professionals to join the conversation, I wish to share a very funny and TRUE story that I found on the Web while I was searching for more information about “have (been) improved.”

In a certain country (of course, I shall not name it), a member of that country’s parliament or congress yelled at another member:
“Improve your English!!!”

The other member answered: “I am not going to improve my English because it HAS already BEEN IMPROVED!!!”


Hi James,

The ‘improve’ sentence in the quote above is actually rather clever. It basically means this:

  • “I am not going to improve my English because somebody else has already improved it for me.” (i.e. some other person, not me, has already made my English better.) So, the speaker seems to be telling us that ‘I had nothing to do with the previous improvement of my English, and because some else has already done it for me, I am not going to bother doing it myself’.

The verb ‘improve’ is both [color=blue]transitive and [color=blue]intransitive. It seems to me that when the transitive ‘improve’ is used in a passive form, the situation would typically be that there was an outside person (rather than a thing) that actively and directly focused on causing the improvement to happen.

With something as personal as one’s own ability, we would generally use the intransitive ‘improve’ if the sentence refers only to the improvement (i.e. My English has improved) and makes no mention of a causative agent. In your sentence, the speaker made a special point of suggesting that an outside force had been at work – which is unusual. That sentence tends to suggest that ‘I had nothing at all to do with my own improvement’. Thus, there is a suggestion to me that the speaker of the sentence in the quote was being sarcastic.

Hi Minhajquazi,

The error is ‘been’. Your sentence is not a passive one. The structure is active: there is a subject (‘I’) and an object (‘my English language ability’), and the verb ‘improve’ is transitive. The word ‘been’ should simply be deleted:

  • By this time, I have really improved my English language ability a lot.

The verb ‘improve’ can be used transitively (with an object) or intransitively (without an object). In the sentence above, the meaning of the transitive verb ‘improve’ is ‘make better’.

When the verb ‘improve’ is used intransitively, there is no object and the meaning is ‘become better’. This is an example of the intransitive usage (no direct object):

  • By this time, my English language ability has improved a lot.

The phrase ‘by this time’ is a time phrase and has no connection whatsoever to a passive construction.

[size=75]“There is little evidence that our individual intelligence has improved through recorded history.” ~ James Lovelock[/size]

1 Like

‘By this time , in context of my English language ability it has really been improved a lot !’

Generally or never I use passive construction in English writing that is why I was totally absent minded regarding , Tra./Intr. or Passive form .

Thank you ‘Esl Expert’ implied me the right path . I expect your comments in future more as it seems your ways of guiding are most explicit compare with other -------of course with respect if I say naively ! So far my knowledge once you have been here why not start up again ?

My problem is proper using the right grammar though I went through (If it not looks 'Hum Drum ')every nooks and the corner in grammar and sometime just forgetting ,that is why if you claim anything ,immediate it comes up my mind as I was passing through that once !

It happened because I was not engaged in English language practicing last several years except last few months. At odesk .com (out sourcing co.) I need 4.60 out of 5 (for top 10%) where I achieved 4 ,several months ago but I am expecting very soon I can achieve this .It has been possible through (preposition and no direct object)englishtest .net –no doubt.

ESL Expert, it goes without saying that I thank you for your customary insightful answer. Maggie asked a question that puzzles many of us --learners and native speakers. Your answer has certainly done much to clarify the matter. I shall be studying every word of your post with especial care.



Is this sentence grammatically correct?

“Maggie’s English has really BEEN improved by her recent studies in Canada.”

Thank you.


Hi James,

Grammatically, it’s fine. Whether it is the most likely way of saying that is another matter entirely. In my opinion, it’s not ideal, but at least better with the addition of ‘by her recent studies in Canada’. I say it’s not necessarily ideal because:

  • I think Maggie also had at least a little something to do with the her own improvement. :slight_smile:

  • If you want to credit Maggie’s studies in Canada for all of Maggie’s language improvement, you can easily use an active form (which, of course, would tend to be preferable to the passive voice):

“Maggie’s recent studies in Canada have really improved her English skills.”

[size=75]“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain[/size]

Isn’t it amazing how some people praise themselves, I mean ESL_EXPERT probably thinks she has improved James’s English. I would say that James improved his English himself, by asking questions on the forum. In a previous message from James I learnt that he was studying various English grammars, now if he wasn’t eager to improve his English, he probably wouldn’t ask questions. Therefore I like the English proverb: ‘A man’s praise in his own mouth stinks.’ Now, don’t take this personally, dear ESL_EXPERT. But as I always say: ‘Give credit where credit is due.’


‘Maggie’s English skills level recently with studying in canada has really improved’

How do you think ‘ESL expert’ about this construction ?