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When I was browsing internet. I saw this sentence. I have a doubt on the usage of "have kept hidden" What tense is it? Is it Active voice of present perfect? If so why there is a word "hidden" which is the past participle form of hide?

Is it passive voice of present perfect? If so, why they are using "kept" instead of been?

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  • So, what is the definition of "kept"? And what do you find if you Google define hidden?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 1:47
  • @HotLicks secret
    – user8683499
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 1:54
  • And what part of speech?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 1:56
  • It’s in the present tense; had it been in the past tense, it would have read had not have.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 2:06

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I think OP's confusion arises from the proximity of the two participles, "kept" and "hidden".

The sentence:

I have a secret that I have kept hidden from my circle of friends and family.

comes from combining these two sentences:

I have a secret. + I have kept the secret hidden from my circle of friends and family.

The structure "that I have kept hidden..." is therefore a relative clause where "that" refers back to "a secret". "have kept" is a verb in the present perfect tense and in the active form. "hidden" is a past participle that does not form part of the verb phrase "have kept" but is used as an adjective that refers to the object "secret". We call "hidden" an object complement. Proof that "hidden" is not verbal (passive) but adjectival is that we can replace it with an adjective:

I have a secret that I have kept confidential.

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  • In fact, Merriam-Webster defines "hidden" as an adjective.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 3:20
  • @HotLicks Actually, "hidden" can be the past participle of the verb "hide" (in perfect tenses: They have hidden the treasure and in the passive voice: The treasure was hidden by the pirates) or an adjective, as in OP's sentence.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 18:01

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