I'm currently reading a book on syntax and it states the following:

"Be careful not to confuse the past participle with the past tense...They differ, however in that the past tense form is finite, while the past participle form is non finite"

The verb dance was used as an example e.g. I often danced vs He has often danced.

What I am wondering is, of course the simple past tense is finite, but isn't the past participle also finite? In the sense that it has tense about an action that occurred in the past? In this case the act of dancing? Or is one to assume it's acting as an adjective?

Appreciate any help.



The past participle can be used in lots of situations that have nothing to do with the past. In particular it is used when a passive meaning is required.

The apple will be eaten. (future in passive voice)

The weather will be mostly fine but interrupted by occasional showers (the main verb is in the future, the participle clause uses the past participle only to indicate a passive sense. The participle clause refers to future events.)

So the past particple clause can refer to future events. It doesn't indicate tense at all (so "past" is a bad name for it). It is not a finite verb form.

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