Past participle or Adjective


Is there any rule to know “an adjective word” from “past” or “past participle” word ?

For example :
The flight was delayed because of bad weather .

This sentence is past passive simple .

Here , “delayed” is past participle , but in the same time it’s an adjective …
so , we can call this sentence is " an adjective sentence " too !!!

I need your help …



Hello … :frowning:

anybody is here 8)

Good morning :lol:


Hi Herc

First of all, you can only have passive sentences with transitive verbs. (i.e., verbs that need an object) And the confusion about whether a past participle is an adjective or not mainly happens when the pp follows the verb be (or a form of be). Unfortunately, this is also the form of the passive.

You could easily turn your sentence into an active sentence: “Bad weather delayed the flight.” / “The air traffic controllers delayed the flight due to bad weather.” So there is a good argument that your sentence is passive.

A common place to see a past participle used as an adjective is before the noun:

  • a delayed flight
  • a well-known song
  • a fried egg
  • a bored student 8)

If the only verbs in the sentence are be (or a form of be) and a past participle, then you have to do a little thinking to decide whether it’s a passive sentence or not. Sometimes you can look at it both ways. BUT…

If you can easily add “by whom” to the sentence, then it’s probably passive. :wink: And if the past participle can’t be used as an adjective in front of the noun, then it’s doubly clear that it’s a passive sentence.

For example, the sentence “America was discovered in 1492” can only be seen as a passive sentence. ("…discovered by Columbus", even though Columbus is not mentioned in the sentence.)

Does that help? Do you have more “past participle” sentences that you find confusing?



Present participles are also used as adjectives. :lol:

Hi Amy

could you explain this point more or give more examples ? Please :roll:

Thanks a lot


Hi Herc

  • The first PC virus was discovered in January 1986 (by somebody).
  • John was greeted at the airport (by his host).
  • Cranberries are grown in New Jersey (by farmers).
  • Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates.

These are all passive sentences. It would be unlikely that you would or could use the past particple as an adjective in front of the nouns to build a sentence with a similar meaning. The only sentence above that might be able to logically use the past participle as an adjective is the first one, but then you would also have to include the word “first”.

It would sound extremely strange to say “the greeted John” or “the founded Microsoft”. That was my point.


Thanks a lot Amy … :smiley:

you are the greatest teacher in the world … :roll:


Hi Herc

Are you rolling your eyes :roll: at me or at yourself? :shock:

Amy :wink:


:lol: :lol: