I don't know if here is adjective or passive form

They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.

Involved has the role of adjective or passive form?

  • What makes you think it's an adjective? Jul 22, 2017 at 10:59
  • What would the meaning be if it were a passive verb? What would the meaning be if it were an adjective? Jul 22, 2017 at 11:47
  • It's an adjective, cf. "the last people to be very involved in anything strange ...". Only adjectives can be modified by "very".
    – BillJ
    Jul 22, 2017 at 13:16
  • @BillJ There is no "very" word in my sentence. Jul 22, 2017 at 14:59
  • @user178049 involve is a verb and we can add "ed" to turn it into adjective. => involved Jul 22, 2017 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


Most "be + V-ed" phrases can work, depending on the context, as passive forms or as copulative verb + adjective. Such structures will be interpreted as passive if reference is made to the action, and as adjectival if reference is made to the state.

In the sentence at issue, the adverbial clause of reason makes it clear that "be involved" is a state, so "involved" is adjectival -- they were not keen on strange or mysterious things, so they could not possibly be involved or implicated in any such things.

If that adverbial were not there, the sentence would be ambiguous, and the passive meaning would be possible:

  • They were the last people you'd expect to be involved (by anybody) in anything strange or mysterious. (This could be the case if everyone believed they were honest, reasonable people, in which case it was unlikely for them to be accused by others of being involved in or associated with anything strange or mysterious).
  • So,at that position, I can use a adjective or verb, right? Jul 23, 2017 at 0:52
  • In that sentence, with an adverbial of reason that describes what they were like, "involved" is adjectival as it refers to the state or condition of (not) being implicated in strange or mysterious things
    – Gustavson
    Jul 23, 2017 at 1:04
  • Ok. I have a similar example .,This is a house you'd expect to be built . so, built in this case is passive verb or adjective? Jul 23, 2017 at 1:21
  • I need you to complete the sentence. As it is, it can be passive or adjectival. Some further context could help us define which it is.
    – Gustavson
    Jul 23, 2017 at 1:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .