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(1) The hill was covered by snow.

(2) The hill was covered with snow.

Question: Is the following explanation correct?

Sentence (1) is a dynamic passive sentence.

Sentence (2) is a stative passive sentence.

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  • The past participle always expresses state (as do adjectives formed from them). We use being to add the sense of ongoing action, is being covered. Dec 20, 2023 at 13:20
  • Thank you, but I think "He was shot in the chest" expresses an action.
    – Kaguyahime
    Dec 21, 2023 at 3:52
  • But actions can be completed, in which case the state is not dynamic. Perhaps you should clarify what you meant by those terms, dynamic or stative. Dec 21, 2023 at 13:26
  • Some people call sentences like "I was tired" stative passives, as a kind of "false passive". Is that what you meant? Do you mean "true passive" with "dynamic" and false passive" with "stative"? Are you asking whether "The hill was covered with snow" is a false passive and "...by snow" is a true passive? Is your interest not using English but analyzing English? Dec 21, 2023 at 13:35
  • I don't think that "I was tired" is a passive sentence. I think "tired" is an adjective because we can say "I am very tired".
    – Kaguyahime
    Dec 22, 2023 at 4:51

1 Answer 1

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There really isn't any difference in meaning, and both could be used in the same situation. The use of such expressions be used to describe a snow-covered hill.

You could probably force a "dynamic" interpretation by giving a time frame

Between 6and 8pm the hill was covered with snow and became inaccessible to cars.

Or you could force a static interpretation:

I looked around, the hill was covered by snow and it would be a long walk to the top.

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