I have three sentences:

A: This is a broken window.
B: This window is broken.
C: This is broken window.

I know break is a verb, because it represents action. But broken also adds meaning to noun window, so it should act like adjective. I also doubt the third sentence cannot be used in any context as it is ungrammatical.

  • It's an adjective in all your examples. The window is in a broken state from prior breaking. Incidentally, C is ungrammatical since "broken window" requires one of the articles "a" or "the".
    – BillJ
    Jun 10, 2017 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


As Cambridge dictionary explains, when it describes something damaged, broken can be both predicative and attributive adjectives.

1. He put a sheet of plastic over the broken window. (attributive)

2. She had an X-ray to see if any of her ribs were broken. (predicative)

Regarding the third sentence, you need to use an article before the adjective.

However, you can consider be+broken as a passive construction, but in the passives the agents are the key elements. In other words, you use passives when the agent is more important than the subject. Needless to say that, be itself, is a linking verb which can be followed by adjectives.

I think if your examples were with more details, then it would be more easy to judge them:

  • This window is broken by little pressure. I don't like it! (broken is a verb)
  • This window is broken though it couldn't be discerned easily. (broken is an adjective)
  • So shall I take it as that in #2 broken is not verb?
    – user31782
    Jun 10, 2017 at 10:47
  • @user31782 I think so (, but I am not a native). I'm saying that because in that sentence you primarily want to describe the window. Thus, it's more likely to be a an adjective which follows a linking verb, "is".
    – Cardinal
    Jun 10, 2017 at 10:52
  • You say that in my third sentence I must use an article before the adjective, but on Cambridge page they used it as: "Be careful - there's [] broken glass on the kitchen floor."
    – user31782
    Jun 10, 2017 at 11:01
  • 1
    "there is broken glass" is different from "this is {a/the} broken window". The former seems to be uncountable!
    – Cardinal
    Jun 10, 2017 at 11:03
  • Yes Cardinal, that's spot on! Btw, @user31782, glass would be countable if you are referring to the object you use drink. Jun 10, 2017 at 11:47

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