Ice has melted, so there's just melted ice which is just water.

Can I describe the right picture as "ice is melted in the water" (without definite article "the") even though there's no ice anymore?

Ice (subject) is (verb) melted (complement functioning as an adjective)

So, to sum it up, is "Ice is melted in the water" semantcially correct for the right picture?

Left: Glass with water and ice. Right: Glass with water without ice

  • 1
    (the) Ice has melted would be better, because it has already happened. This proces is completed and the ice is no more, which means you should use the past tense.
    – paddotk
    Dec 4, 2023 at 8:34
  • @paddotk But it can also not be a sentence. In which case, ice water is accurate.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 15:26
  • @Lambie I would consider 'ice water' to be 'water with ice in it'. Plus, the water may have warmed up considerably in the meantime, which would be lukewarm icewater. That's just weird.
    – paddotk
    Dec 5, 2023 at 13:47
  • Exactly what aspect of English are you trying to learn from this question? If you only want that sentence proofread, this site isn't the place for that. Did you create this sentence or did you hear it somewhere else? Do you think it's correct or incorrect? Why?
    – gotube
    Dec 7, 2023 at 20:25

5 Answers 5


There are plenty of constructions like this that are perfectly natural

A window is broken.

Some food is rotten.

A man is dead.

There are some particular issues with "Ice is melted." (see below) But if your question really is "is this type of sentence possible" the answer is "yes". But your particular sentence "Ice is melted" is not good.

You seem to be having difficulty separating what you can say, from what you should say.

"Ice is melted" is not what you should say.

What about melted as an adjective, well "molten" is often the better adjective. And "Ice is molten" is an oxymoron. It contradicts itself. "Ice is melted." (if you intend melted to be an adjective) is just the same. But there is another way of parsing "is melted".

Because "melted" is also a participle. So this appears to be a passive-voice sentence, and it could be rephrased as "Someone melts ice" So, if you and your family live in the Arctic, and during the winter you get water from melting ice, and you have a pot that your family use to melt ice in, you might say "Ice is melted in this pot."

It's not a very common thing to say. If you use the water in that glass for melting ice, then you could say "Ice is melted in the water".

But what you probably mean is "(Some/The) ice has melted in the water." The present perfect tense is the "perfect" tense for this.

But that's not a description of the picture!!

If you want to "describe the picture", you'd say "A glass of water". Since there is no ice!

Finally, what about the attributive. It is okay to say "rotten food" or "A dead man", but "molten ice" seems odd. "Melted ice" is natural enough. I shan't try to judge if that's an adjective or a particle (the grammar is ambiguous) but it obviously means "water that used to be ice (and for which the fact it was ice is in some way important).

The roads can become dangerous when melted snow re-freezes at night and creates patches of black ice.

  • Really appreciate your answer.
    – user180525
    Dec 3, 2023 at 18:32
  • 2
    US English speaker here: my best guess for the difference between "molten" and "melted" is that "molten" implies the material is temporarily in a liquid state and will naturally revert to a solid state unless it is actively prevented from doing so (generally, by heating it). "Melted", on the other hand, implies that the thing will remain as a liquid unless action is taken to make it solid again.
    – David Z
    Dec 4, 2023 at 6:06
  • Can I say "this ice is melted in the water" instead of "the ice is melted in the water"?
    – user180525
    Dec 4, 2023 at 9:55
  • 1
    Molten also implies that high temperatures are required to produce the liquid state. Molten glass, molten lava, molten steel all seem appropriate. Molten oil or molten water doesn't.
    – barbecue
    Dec 4, 2023 at 14:24
  • It is grammatical to say: the ice is melted in the water (in this experiment), for example. OR Ice is melted in water before adding it to the mix.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 15:46

Assuming this is a time-lapse set of photographs:

On the left we see ice cubes floating in the glass of water. In the photo on the right, the ice has melted.

We would use the present perfect when there is some lapse of time involved, and we're talking about what has taken place in that time.

  • Yes, the ice has melted and you are left with a glass of ice water without the cubes.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Lambie I would be rather disappointed if I asked for ice water and got a glass with absolutely no ice in it. That's just water. I don't know how you could look at two identical glasses of liquid water at a few degrees C, and claim that one is ice water and one is not depending on which one used to be frozen. Dec 4, 2023 at 18:10
  • @NuclearHoagie I was going to call Lambie on the same issue but zoomed the photo, and it appears to have condensation on the outside of the glass,that, or a gelid layer at the top. Dec 4, 2023 at 18:15
  • The term ice water in a restaurant just means cold water in a glass with ice. You don't have to believe me. It's well anchored in the language. Why Do Americans Love Ice Water So Much? deseret.com/u-s-world/2022/10/22/23402805/…
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 18:16
  • @Lambie your link undermines your point. The picture shows ice in water. The text rarely specifies whether it means ice in water, except the end which says "Now, ice is an American staple: Practically all drinks are served with it"
    – atk
    Dec 5, 2023 at 17:25

I think you cannot say sentences like

*Oh look, the ice is melted in that glass of water

To mean that there is melted ice in a glass of water.

The reason why this doesn't sound natural could be because the ice no longer exists once it has melted; it cannot be both ice and melted at the same time (as is suggested by "is"). So, these also sound wrong: *the caterpillar is metamorphosed, *the house of cards is collapsed.

Also, "X has melted" is such a strong collocation that using a phrase which sounds like it, means the same thing, but is not actually the expected phrase, could be especially jarring.

Communicate the same meaning with

Oh look, the ice has melted in that glass of water

The ice is melted in that glass of water

Can also be read as a passive construction, which like all passives is enabled by assuming that there is an agent who is melting the water:

The ice is melted in that glass of water by Collins
The ice is melted in that glass of water by [the people who melt the ice]

Reading the sentence this way changes the meaning. It highlights that that glass of water is used for melting ice.

  • Yes, if the ice is melted or has melted, it no longer exists. So what? The ice is melted in a glass in this experiment, then [you do whatever].
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 15:48
  • 2
    @Lambie: In your example here with the experiment, "melted" is being used transtively in passive voice, not intransitively. Dec 4, 2023 at 16:00
  • @TimRonsomedevice Yes, we melt ice in water. So? However, the ice is melted in that glass of water is fine to mean just that. The gravy is burned in that pan.
    – Lambie
    Dec 4, 2023 at 16:08
  • 2
    @Lambie: Whether it is an intransitive or transitive construction has bearing on the present perfect construction, has melted for intransitive and has been melted for transitive. Dec 4, 2023 at 18:06
  • 1
    @Lambie The gravy is burned in that pan means to me that that pan is the one that is used for burning gravy inside of. Both your examples are passive voice. I guess the original the ice is melted in that glass of water can be read the same way, meaning that that is the glass of water used for melting ice, but that's not what OP meant. Interesting points though I've added to the answer
    – minseong
    Dec 6, 2023 at 7:08

While the original sentence "Ice is melted in the water" is grammatically correct, the picture on the right makes the depiction inaccurate.

A more accurate way to describe the picture on the right would be: "The ice has melted into the water" or "The ice melted into water"

Since the ice has already melted into water in the picture on the right, it is inaccurate to still describe there being ice that "is melted." The act of melting has already completed.


A glass of water with ice.

A glass of water where the ice has melted is generally referred to as:
a glass of ice water. That's just the way it is. You might think we say iced water with a d but we don't. A glass of ice water can also mean the ice cubes have not completely melted.

"Oh look, the ice is melted in that glass of water."
"Ice water is added to the dough before it is left to rest for three hours."

It is grammatical to say: the ice is melted in the water (in this experiment), for example. OR Ice is melted in water before adding it to the mix.

Black Cow Vodka

Prepare the glasses. Fill martini or coupe glasses with ice water to quickly chill; let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and dry. ice water_UK

We'd recommend prioritising your collection of tumblers, as those hold everything from cocktails to ice water to neat whiskey.

Ice water_UK

Set of 4 Ouverture beer/ice water glasses;

Ice Water_Amazon

Nothing feels quite as good as quenching your thirst with a glass of ice water.

Reddy Ice

  • 7
    As a native US english speaker, I've never heard of a glass of water into which ice had completely melted as being called "ice water." There is always some ice in the ice water. (Ice water in a pitcher can be poured into a glass, filtering the ice so that the glass only has cold water. In a restaurant this is technically receiving ice water, but the water in the glass would be subsequently simply called "water" or "cold water"; the glass would no longer be considered to contain "ice water" when the pour has completed)
    – atk
    Dec 3, 2023 at 23:43
  • 2
    "Ice water" is generally expected to be cold, whereas I wouldn't hold "a glass of water where the ice has melted" to the same expectation of temperature. There may be overlap here where both phrases can be used at the same time for the same glass (I cannot confirm), but it definitely doesn't overlap in all cases.
    – Flater
    Dec 4, 2023 at 0:28
  • 6
    @Flater If you ask a waiter for "ice water", you expect to get a glass with a mixture of ice and water. A term for the ice-cold water alone is "chilled water"; at home you might keep a pitcher of water in the fridge for this, or a fancy fridge may have a tap that produces it.
    – Barmar
    Dec 4, 2023 at 5:46
  • 1
    regardless, my larger point is that once the ice has fully melted, I would not consider it to be "ice(d) water", just "cold water", "chilled water", "ice-cold water" etc, all of which are more general as they don't specify that the drink was cooled by melting ice into it
    – Tristan
    Dec 4, 2023 at 14:27
  • 1
    @gotube whilst OP's question doesn't discuss the phrase "ice(d) water", this answer suggests that "ice(d) water" is the correct description of that picture. That claim is a major negative of this answer which, despite numerous downvotes has been accepted. Discussion of this phrase is on topic and should not be moved to chat.
    – Tristan
    Dec 5, 2023 at 10:15

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