So, basically I was studying (am studying) about deeper understanding (in more specified manner) of English tenses and the problem occurred right at the beginning of it.

I have read somewhere that Present Simple or Simple Present is used when we talk about facts and generalizations (among others). Everything was perfectly fine until I have found this example: "Windows are made of glass".

Isn't "are"+"2. or 3.column of irregular verbs" used in some Past Tense (I don't know exactly which)? I'm a bit confused with this. Please reply :D

  • I trust that you know that present simple and simple present are the same. Are is the third person present tense of the verb to be. Are as an auxiliary helps form the progressive (Windows are being made of plastic these days) and the passive (Windows are made by glaziers), but these are present forms. Perhaps if we knew "2. or 3. column" of what. – deadrat Nov 15 '16 at 20:47
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    You should know that notions like ‘second/third column’ are completely unknown to most native English speakers. They belong to ways of describing English grammar to foreign students in some parts of the world, but in English-speaking countries, they are not used. If you are talking about such forms as made, done, broken, etc., then you are talking about the past participle. I'm guessing that's probably your ‘third column’ (?). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 15 '16 at 22:06

I believe you're thinking of the passive voice construction, or of the perfect construction (which is variously called an "aspect" or a "tense"). Both of these constructions use the past participle form of a verb, and the past participle of the verb make is "made".

The perfect construction doesn't generally use forms of "to be" in modern English; it's made using a form of the verb "to have" + a past participle.

The passive voice does use a form of the verb "to be" + a past participle. However, it is not a type of past tense. In any case, "Windows are made of glass" is not a passive-voice sentence: most people would do a double-take if you responded to this sentence with a question like "By whom?" or "Who does this?"

The word "made" in this sentence is not a participle, but an adjective. See the definition in Collins' Advanced English Dictionary:

adjective If something is made of or made out of a particular substance, that substance was used to build it.

The structure of the predicate is just "are," the simple present plural form of "be", followed by the predicative adjective phrase "made of glass".

There are a number of adjectives like "made" that look exactly like past participles. So some sentences are ambiguous between "be + predicative adjective" (active voice) and "be + past participle" (passive voice). Usually the context resolves any confusion. In this case, a general statement about the composition of windows (active voice) seems more likely than a passive-voice statement.

Another relevant question about this topic: How to identify whether the sentence is in passive voice or Simple past (state)

  • A bit to complicated for me to understand all what you wrote but I got the point of it. Thank you for your time. Must be a real expert in this :D – Lu Ka Nov 15 '16 at 21:09
  • Lots of adjectives come from participle forms of the verb. He's interesting. She's not interested. – John Lawler Nov 15 '16 at 21:16
  • Nice job. I wish I understood all the terminology the way you do. And I appreciate your taking the time to provide such a definitive answer. – Richard Kayser Nov 15 '16 at 23:19

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