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I understand the meaning of the phrase "keep your seat belt fastened while seated" which you can see in the aeroplane written on the front seat.

But I absolutely can't figure out the grammar of the phrase, of the part "while seated".

Can anyone explain why this form of verb is used? Doesn't it sound strange to a native speaker?

As far as I understand there are several things in this phrase that confuse me:

  1. Subject : If the subject is missed in the last verb (to seat), it should be the same subject as in case of the first verb (to keep) or of the second verb (to fasten). But to seat is a causative verb, so it's not true.
  2. Voice : It seems to be active, but it should be passive.

Thanks in advance!

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    It's a shortened version of [to be] seated, which is semantically passive/stative (not "causative", as in They seated me at the back). And the subject of both clauses is implied you keep (imperative) and while you are seated. – FumbleFingers Jul 6 '16 at 12:52
  • It's an imperative statement, so there's an implied "You" at the start. References claim that "while" is a conjunction in this context, though I've never really thought that through. – Hot Licks Jul 6 '16 at 12:56
  • @FumbleFingers but does this sound correctly for you? Is it OK to miss auxiliary verb? Can I say "The house built in 1965" meaning "the house was built in 1965"? – KseniaK Jul 6 '16 at 13:12
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    Most questions here are from non-native speakers. This is a grammatical short form of Keep your seatbelt fastened while you are seated. It follows the grammar rules for signs, which are different from speech. The second you is deleted under identity with your, and the are is deleted because it's predictable -- it just announces that seated is a predicate adjective in the present tense, unneeded information. Predictability in signs is low; they are supposed to convey vital information very efficiently with very few words. – John Lawler Jul 6 '16 at 16:56
  • @JohnLawler thanks a lot for your answer. Can you recommend me where can I learn about grammar rules for signs? I tried to find in google but didn't succeed. – KseniaK Jul 7 '16 at 12:13
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This is a grammatical short form of

Keep your seatbelt fastened while you are seated.

It follows the grammar rules for signs, which are different from speech. The second you is deleted under identity with your, and the are is deleted because it's predictable–it just announces that seated is a predicate adjective in the present tense, unneeded information.

–John Lawler

"The grammar rules for signs have a lot in common with those for newspaper headlines. If you google headline grammar rules you will find several articles like this one: englishlessonsbrighton.co.uk/ "

–JavaLatte

  • And we can say "While seated, keep your seatbelt fastened." or even "You, while you are seated, you keep your seatbelt fastened, do you hear me?" – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 11 '16 at 17:41
  • "it just announces that seated is a predicate adjective in the present tense, unneeded information." - I don't quite get it. Why do you call it 'unneeded information'? In this case it is a marker of passive voice, isn't it? And if we remove itб it's no more obvious whether it is a predicate adjective or a past tense of a verb. – KseniaK Jul 15 '16 at 8:06

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