Every so often I come across a passive sentence that puzzles me: why did someone write this? Last month I posted about one such case on my blog, but there you could imagine how the sentence arose. My most recent find just looks perverse, and it has an awkward adverb placement as well.
This is the caption to a photograph (of an aged woman smoking a pipe) on a postcard:
Ralston NB: 92-year-old Grandma Hayes attributes her long life and good health to the fact that five pipefuls of tobacco are daily smoked by her!
(The photograph, dated 1925, is credited to Underwood and Underwood, with copyright by Underwood Photo Archives, Ltd. in San Francisco. The postcard is from Pomegranate Communications, Inc.)
Why this, rather than:
92-year-old Grandma Hayes attributes her long life and good health to the fact that she smokes five pipefuls of tobacco daily.
92-year-old Grandma Hayes attributes her long life and good health to smoking five pipefuls of tobacco daily.
Meanwhile, though I have nothing against "split verbs" (see my recent blog posting, with links to earlier Language Log postings), "are daily smoked by her" strikes me as more awkward than "are smoked by her daily".
So it's a thorough puzzle.