Grammar "She was overcome by an emotion" Is it correct?

@Manasha (2300)
Pondicherry, India
September 27, 2012 5:50am CST
The real sentence is "She was overcome by an emotion that she could not tame." I am terribly confused by the words she was overcome " because I am not accustomed to those words. Whether she has overcome her emotion which she could not tame is correct or not. I did not understand about the words she was overcome . How could the word overcome occurs after was.
1 response
@owlwings (39250)
• Cambridge, England
27 Sep 12
The sentence is is in the passive form so "She was overcome by/with emotion." is correct. The action "overcome" happens to the subject of the verb in this case. If you were to put the statement into the active form, it would be "Emotion overcame her." It would not be usual to use the indefinite article ("an emotion") because that would imply that only a single, specific emotion was involved and you would them be expected to say which! If you were really talking about a specific emotion, you might say "She was overcome with grief" or "She was overcome by joy". The use of "with" or "by" is very much a matter of choice, though they have very slightly different meanings. "With" suggests somewhat more personal involvement in the emotion than "by". Compare: "I cut myself with a knife" and "I was cut by flying glass".
• Philippines
27 Sep 12
I just don't agree why "overcome" became the subject of the verb as you said above, when it's actually the verb.
@owlwings (39250)
• Cambridge, England
27 Sep 12
I didn't say that, sergs_pogi. Please read it again. I said that the action ... happens to the subject. "Overcome" is the action (verb) and "She" is the subject. In this case, the verb is in the passive - "to be overcome".
@owlwings (39250)
• Cambridge, England
27 Sep 12
I am not happy with my description of when we use "with" and when we use "by". In many cases they are, for all practical purposes, interchangeable but "with" is only really used when something is used as the agent of the action. "She was stabbed by the attacker" but "She was stabbed [by the attacker] with a knife." In the sentence "She was overcome with/by emotion", 'emotion' is both an (intangible) 'thing' AND an agent, so using either "with" or "by" has a nearly identical meaning.