1. It is the most trusted company
  2. It is a branded shirt

Do these two sentences use the past or past participle? Which form of verb is there?

I often come across similar sentences in my life where I also get confused with which form is used.

These are the verbs whose past tense and past participle are both same so it becomes difficult to identify.

  • Can you clarify what you mean by 2nd or 3rd form? Aug 26, 2016 at 6:29
  • trust trusted trusted and brand branded and branded Aug 26, 2016 at 7:26
  • these are ist 2nd and 3rd form according to me Aug 26, 2016 at 7:27
  • 1
    "Trusted" and "branded" are modifying the nouns "company" and "shirt" respectively. Past tense verb-forms cannot be modifiers, so they can only be adjectives derived from past participles. You can call them 'past-participial adjectives' if you like, or just adjectives will do.
    – BillJ
    Aug 26, 2016 at 9:50
  • It will help you to notice that past participle is not used alone in a sentence. We use them in passive forms ---> to be (am, is, are for present, and was, were for past tense) + past participle, in present perfect ---> have/has + past participle, in past perfect ---> had+past participle. By past participle I refer to the 3rd form of irregular verbs. You know tgat for regulare verbs we just use ed in both 2nd and 3rd forms. So these participles are not use alone. While past form of tye verbs is used alone in sentences.
    – user33000
    Aug 26, 2016 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


As a learner I would say, in your two sentences the verb is the linking verb is. After linking verbs you can use either an adjective or a noun phrase. The important thing is that a past participle can play three main different roles:

  • they can be an adjective (both attributive and predicative)

For example, this book is invaluable; here invaluable is an adjective. Similarly you can say: He is an old and trusted friend.

  • they can be used to form a verb phrase

    For example, New buildings are constructed by the company.

  • they can be used in adverbial clauses, adjectival clauses, and phrases

    For example, Having walked for a while, he returned to the house.

In your question, the branded and trusted are adjectives.

Moreover, I think it is important to mention that the superlative and comparative forms for such adjectives are constructed using most and more.

  • I don't think "invaluable" is a past-participial adjective; rather just a 'real' adjective.
    – BillJ
    Aug 26, 2016 at 9:33
  • @BillJ I deliberately use that adjective to emphasize that a "past-participle" adjective can be a real adjective; I wanted to equate them. Also, any suggestion or improvement is welcomed- you can edit the answer.
    – Cardinal
    Aug 26, 2016 at 9:45
  • Okay, that's fine.
    – BillJ
    Aug 26, 2016 at 9:54

To say which tense a sentence is using, you need to check the tense used from the main verb. Since the main verb is is, both the sentences are using the Simple Present Tense.

Trusted and branded are past participles, and they are used as attributives of, respectively, company and shirt.

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