3
  1. This room [is cleaned] every day.
  2. The window [is broken].

In the first sentence, we have a 'Past Participle (Verb)'.
In the second sentence, we have a 'Past Participle Adjective'.

More examples:

  1. He has broken his glass. <-- 'Broken' as a 'Past Participle' (Verb)
  2. A broken glass. <-- 'Broken' as an 'Adjective'

I've got two questions:

  • Are there rules for distinguishing 'P.P. adjectives' from 'P.P. verbs' for all sentences?
  • Can all 'P.P. verbs' be used as 'P.P. adjectives'? (For example: The word 'cleaned' as an adjective)
  • 1
    Are you sure that your second example ("The window is broken") isn't ambiguous? – F.E. Mar 25 '15 at 21:27
  • Are you sure that the "broken" in your fourth example ("a broken glass") cannot be a past-participle verb form? – F.E. Mar 25 '15 at 21:37
  • @F.E. Do you mean maybe the window is broken every day, or perhaps on special occasions? – Araucaria Mar 26 '15 at 0:19
  • 1
    @Araucaria I'm way too swamped! :) – F.E. Mar 26 '15 at 1:14
  • 2
    @Araucaria Adjectival passives vs verbal passives: it be an interesting topic, but there's already been quite a bit written on it, and if one tries to write a post on it, it's like, where does one start and what does one leave out. Besides, it's another useful shibboleth. :) – F.E. Mar 26 '15 at 1:18
1

Thought-provoking question!

I think we need to look at the sentence structure or else it'll be difficult to find it out. While transitive verbs make our task easy as they'd have a direct object following them. the problem occurs when the verb is intransitive.

But then, if you use 'intransitive' verbs, the sentence won't look complete without explaining the verb. For instance, 'break' is transitive and intransitive both (just like 'clean'); now you'll have to talk about the verb further in order to make the sentence complete.

He has broken - won't work

The moment you add '....his glass', we can make out that it is used as a verb.

The adjective pattern will be different than the 'verb pattern' in those sentences with PP.

In English, a 'single word' on its own may stand ambiguous. That's why we say, context is important.

[But let natives come with their take on this].

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.