(1) -Is Rick here? -He is gone.
(2) -I am finished with that customer. Who's next?
(3) -Where are you? -I am stopped at a red light.

Such using "to be + adjective" as in the examples above is rather hard for me to understand.
I know I can just replace it with "to have + past participle" but I want to understand it literally.
And the problem is that I don't know how to call this in terms of English grammar.
So could you tell me please what grammar term I should type in the google to find the topic about it to not deal with every single case separately but to know the sense of such using as a whole?

Usual examples which I understand:
I was pleased after talking to the young lady. = Something / someone pleased me. — most likely "talking to the young lady pleased me" but that's not the point
I am a little confused now. = Something / someone confused me a little.
They are quite understandable to me because I perceive them like a passive.

He is gone.Something / someone went me. (a strange sentence)
I am finished with that customer.Something /someone finished me.
I am stopped at a red light. ≠ Something / someone stopped me at a red light.
Also: I am stopped at a red light. ≠ A red light stopped me. — because for this equality to be true, it must be with "by": I am stopped by a red light. = A red light stopped me.
That is, I can't perceive these examples as a passive. That's why they are different from the usual ones.

  • 1
    They're called [Past] Participle Adjectives. It might help you to understand them if you think about modifying a noun with a verb - giving you a modified noun (if you steal a car, what you end up with is a stolen car). Nov 17, 2022 at 20:11
  • When you say "replace it with 'to have + past participle'", do you mean without the "to", like, "He has gone"?
    – gotube
    Nov 17, 2022 at 20:33
  • @FumbleFingers The examples from the link you gave are: --- "I was pleased after talking to the young lady.", --- "I think I am a little confused now.", --- "He is always misunderstood." --- I don't know how to explain but they are not those examples which are similar to the ones in my post.
    – Loviii
    Nov 17, 2022 at 20:33
  • @Loviii The first two examples are participial adjectives, same as your sentences. The third is passive voice, which is not an example of participial adjectives. That's a mistake from whoever wrote that website.
    – gotube
    Nov 17, 2022 at 20:34
  • 1
    Loviii: Your problem seems to be that you assume Past Participle Adjectives can only be understood as passive verb usages. That's why you're having trouble making sense of things. You might think you're "explaining" something like I'm bored as a passive usage (some "unspecified agent" bored me), but that's not a very useful approach. And it doesn't work at all with a truly intransitive usage like I'm finished, because you can't recast that as Some unspecified agent finished me. Don't try to connect passive verbs and participial adjectives so closely. Nov 18, 2022 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


These are all examples of participial adjectives in that context.

When these adjectives follow a "be" verb, they have the same form as the passive voice, but they're not verbs at all.

Though the words are formed from verbs, they are not verbs, and don't convey any action happening. They are truly adjectives. I'll demonstrate that by replacing each one with an adjective, without significantly changing the meaning.

He is gone.
He is absent.

I am finished with that customer.
I am through with that customer.

I am stopped at a red light.
I am stationary at a red light.

There is no verbal meaning in any of the highlighted words. All six of those words are just adjectives.

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