One summer morning at the beginning of harvest, in 1771, I think it was, Mr. Earnshaw, the old master, came down, dressed for a journey.

What is the usage of "dressed"? Is it used as verb or adjective?


I would say dressed is functioning as an adjective here. It's describing Mr. Earnshaw. It isn't particularly about his actions, which would require a verb. (Although, if he is dressed, i.e. currently wearing clothes, in the morning, we presume that at some point in the past he dressed, i.e. performed the action of putting on clothes - but that's not the point here.)


It is both. "Dressed" in this context is a participle, which means it is a verb being used as an adjective. This is very, very common usage in the English language, and it is too involved to detail in full here, so I urge you to study it if you are not familiar.

Consider this sentence:

I was running.

Without knowledge of participles, this does not make much sense in structure. It is a subject, and two verbs. However, "running" is a participle here that describes the subject. He was in the middle of a run, or in the process of running.

Participles are always used in past tense or -ing forms. They are never used un-conjugated (you cannot say "I am run;" the correct sentence is "I am running.")

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