1. Americans are puzzled
  2. Americans puzzled

Which one is correct? I believe 2nd one is grammatically correct, but I see the usage of 1st also.

  • 3
    I don't think it's helpful to use such an unlikely subject as Americans here. The grammatical issues are just the same with John is puzzled compared to John puzzled. And the answer is that intransitive past tense John puzzled is grammatically valid, but such a form would almost never be used by a native speaker in any context. But Americans puzzled would often appear as a grammatically incorrect version of Americans are puzzled in "newspaper headlinese" which frequently omits unimportant verbs such as to be and to have. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 5 '13 at 5:44

They are both correct, when used properly. The problem is, they're phrases, not complete sentences (sort of). Consider the following two sentences:

1) Americans are puzzled by the alien spacecraft hovering over Montana.

2) Americans puzzled over the alien spacecraft hovering over Montana.

In the first sentence, Americans (as a whole) are confused and confounded by an alien spacecraft hovering over a state.

In the second sentence, Americans are thinking about an alien spacecraft hovering over a state. They are still confused, but are thinking about it - why is it there, what is it doing, is it stealing our cows, etc.

Both phrases could be used in certain situations. The only one that is a sentence on its own, however, is "Americans are puzzled." This states that Americans in general are attempting to figure something out (what, we don't know).

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Both are correct, but distinguished based on usage.

Americans puzzled: It is past tense with active voice. e.g.> Americans puzzled rest of World by their technology.

Americans are puzzled: It is a present tense with passive voice. e.g.> Americans are puzzled by the Russians' technology.

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  • Your first sentence should read "Americans puzzled the rest of the world with their technology." Otherwise, good post! – GnoveltyGnome Aug 5 '13 at 13:06

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