The following examples from Wikipedia illustrate what is "passive participle"

The bus has gone. (Here gone is an active past participle).

ex_1: The window was broken with a rock. (Here broken is a passive past participle)

Cambridge Dictionary gives these examples

Cambridge University Press published this book. (active)

ex_2: This book was published by Cambridge University Press. (passive)

I can't see the difference between ex_1 and ex_2.

Are "passive participle" and " Passive voice" the same?

2 Answers 2


In short:

Participle is a form of a verb that can be used, among other things, to create tenses and the passive voice. When a participle is used to create passive voice, it can be called "passive participle."

In the sentence:

The window was broken with a rock.

...the word broken is a participle and the sentence is in the passive voice.

A bit more about participles:

According to YourDictionary, the word participle refers to a verb that can be used as:

  • adjective (broken window)
  • verb (seeing the results, he stopped)
  • noun (seeing is believing)
  • adverb (raving mad)
  • with an auxiliary verb "have" or "be" to indicate tense, aspect, or voice:
    • I have asked. (present tense, perfect aspect)
    • I am asking. (present tense, progressive aspect)
    • I am asked. (present tense, passive voice)

The present participle ends in -ing (asking) and the past participle most commonly ends in -ed or -en (asked, spoken).

  • Thanks for your comprehensive explanation. "passive participle" is used to construct passive voice, that is the relationship between them. So, those are 2 different concepts, right?
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 4, 2020 at 14:25
  • 1
    @WXJ96163, yes, "passive participle" is only a word, while passive voice is on the sentence level (when the subject is "acted upon" by some other performer, like in The window was broken by a rock). To know if a word is a participle, you need to know only that word, but to know if the passive voice is used, you need to know the entire clause.
    – Jan
    Mar 4, 2020 at 14:32
  • 2
    The term "passive participle" is confusing. It does not exclusively pertain to the passive voice although it is used with some form of the verb "be" to form the passive voice. It is also used with with some form of the verb "have" to form the perfect tenses. Thus, it is also called the "perfect participle." Because, for most verbs, the form of this participle is the same as the form used for the simple past tense, it is also called the "past participle." Do not let the names confuse you: the numerous uses of this kind of participle are NOT determined by which name it is referred to. Mar 4, 2020 at 15:55
  • 1
    @JeffMorrow, I intended to add that "passive participle" is not really an "official" grammatical term in English, but I was not sure. It only ads to confusion.
    – Jan
    Mar 4, 2020 at 15:58
  • 1
    @Max You are correct. I would propose progressive participle and perfect participle as being correctly descriptive of FORM in every case. This does not indicate function, but participles have multiple functions. However, I doubt that I am in a position to make an effective proposal that will overturn centuries of confusing nomenclature. Mar 5, 2020 at 12:58

Your own Wikipedia link has the answer:

The past participle, also sometimes called the passive or perfect participle, is identical to the past tense form (ending in -ed) in the case of regular verbs, ...

In English the passive voice is formed using the conjugated form of the verb be followed by the past participle of the main verb. That is why such a participle is sometimes also called a passive participle.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .