Stolen is past participle of 'steal' but is it used as an adjective or noun! I couldn't find anything on the net. just this:

The 71-year-old then allegedly tried to return the stolen items for cash or store credit on the same day.

or in a movie

Please insert your stolen card now.

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    Why do you think it might be used as a noun? It isn't in either of your examples.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 14, 2017 at 23:58
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    Many participles are adjectives for example, stolen.
    – Cardinal
    Oct 15, 2017 at 0:32
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    It's neither an adjective nor a noun. It's a verb phrase headed by a past-participle form of verb. It's function is modifier. Oct 15, 2017 at 0:46
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    Would you give me the link on the net for your say? because I couldn't find anything else.
    – Farid S
    Oct 15, 2017 at 6:27
  • It is a past participle verb modifying the noun "items". Compare "the snoring man", "the sleeping baby" and the like.
    – BillJ
    Oct 15, 2017 at 7:01

2 Answers 2


Both participles, past and present, can modify nouns.

If the underlying verb is transitive, the noun so modified is in the state conferred by the action of the verb when completed:

They sat on the newly painted bench.

They tried to force open the locked door.

If the underlying verb is intransitive, the noun so modified has attained and is in the state which results from the action of the verb when underway:

They entered the building through the revolving door.

They sat a little distance away from the smoking campfire.

They heard running water.


The past participle in the sentence presented is a modifier. It modifies the noun items. In other words, this modifier functions as an adjective. So you can also call it an adjective.

It's not a noun.

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