This post is derived from my another post (Could some help analyze the structure of this sentence "Sleet is *rain and snow mixed together*"?), where a nice guy @James answers

That noun phrase has a participle "mixed", which functions passively: the object of "mixed" is "rain and snow" (in passive participle phrases the grammatical subject is the logical object).

where the term passive participle is used, and I don't have a clear understanding about the concept.

Another ELL post (Formation of passive participle clause) considers the following sentence as an example of passive participle clause

After being arrested, he was taken to the police station.

according which, 'being+p.p' is the passive participle clause.

However, another post gives this explanation

John was eaten by lions. (here, eaten is a passive participle)

Which is simply a passive voice sentence.

So, what is "passive participle"? Is it a canonical term in English grammar?

2 Answers 2


From Wikipedia

Participles may also be identified with a particular voice: active or passive. Some languages (such as Latin and Russian) have distinct participles for active and passive uses. In English, the present participle is essentially an active participle, while the past participle has both active and passive uses.

The following examples illustrate this:

  1. I saw John eating his dinner. (Here eating is an active present participle).
  2. The bus has gone. (Here gone is an active past participle).
  3. The window was broken with a rock. (Here broken is a passive past participle)
  • Thank you! I guess your examples are similar to the ones in the link in my OP (the eaten series). I updated my OP. So, are "passive participle" and " Passive voice" the same?
    – WXJ96163
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 9:53
  • @WXJ96163 I answered the original question not a different question, please do not change it.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 9:55
  • @WXJ96163: No, they are not. Passive voice is a property of certain grammatical constructions (in some languages, certain grammatical words); or is loosely applied to the constructions which have that property. Passive participle is a class of words. In English and some other languages, all passive constructions (i.e. constructions which express passive voice) include a passsive participle.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 10:09
  • @ColinFine Thank you. Would you please move your comment to my new question, since that turns out to be a different question.
    – WXJ96163
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 11:30

The past participle of transitive verbs is passive, that of intransitive verbs is active.

  • 3
    Yes, that is true, but you might consider explaining a bit more. If you look at the tour of this site, you will see that here we tend to give more through explanations than that.
    – fev
    Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 13:42

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