Let's consider the sentence containing the phrase "is written":

How this word is written?

Does this phrase mean

  1. Single action: a concrete situation, how the word was written once by someone?

  2. Habitual action: the spelling of the word, i.e. how that word is usually written?


By itself, your example sentence:

  • 🚫 How this word is written?

is not standard English.

If this is a question, it should use inversion:

  • ✔️ How is this word written?

If this is a phrase, it depends on the context:

The two police officers looked at a word written on the sidewalk (graffiti).

  • ✔️ Alice: I don't know how this word is written here.

  • Barb: It looks like crayon.


The teacher pointed to the blackboard, which says "times".

  • ✔️ Carol: How this word is written depends on its usage. If it refers to a newspaper, it should be capitalized, like "The Times". If it refers to arithmetic, it should be lower-case, like "five times three".
  • So past participle "written" can mean any option: either single action or habitual? – embedc Aug 21 '19 at 13:42
  • Yes, and I think that is true generally: I have failed (once). I have failed (many times in my life). I have voted (once); I have voted (many times in my life). – whiskeychief Aug 22 '19 at 9:45
  • Thank you very much! By the way, your comment is important, you could add it the answer) – embedc Aug 22 '19 at 14:58

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