Is it possible to make a sentence with "Was + past participle" that is not passive?

Thank you in advance.

  • I couldn't come up with one. Did you find one? Dec 8, 2013 at 11:11
  • Hi. I am not sure. please check this: "Did you buy that? No, it was sold". Is "it was sold" passive?
    – user3214
    Dec 8, 2013 at 11:18
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    You can find many of them in meta.ell.stackexchange.com/questions/735/…. I personally like Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. It's written in clear and easy to understand style. The book also discusses English grammar and usage alphabetically, so you can jump right into any issues you are in doubt at any time. Dec 8, 2013 at 11:40
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    You can have a past participle after "be" in a sentence that is not passive, the past participle is then used as an adjective. For example: He is/was gone.
    – None
    Dec 8, 2013 at 12:47
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    I would like to add examples where the adjectives look like the past participles. I am worried that you haven't called me. I am pleased to meet you. I am surprised to find that you have been married.
    – JayHook
    Dec 8, 2013 at 16:43

2 Answers 2


You can construct such sentences in the active voice if you use the past participle as an adjective.

For example, "I had a hideous truck. It was burnt orange." In this sentence, burnt is a past participle of burn but acting as an adjective modifying the color orange.

But! You say, "burnt orange is a compound noun that describes a specific color, and is more like a name than a verb." So . . . Another example:

"Q: What did you order on your pizza yesterday? A: It was smoked sausage." Here, smoked is the past participle of smoke, acting as an adjective, that fits your formula.


While she was gone, the children wrecked havoc.

He was done in for the day.


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