"Good day!" said Monsieur Defarge, looking down at the white head that bent low over the shoemaking.
    It was raised for a moment, and a very faint voice responded to the salutation, as if it were at a distance.

Q1:  Is “it was raised for a moment” a stative passive rather than a participial adjective?  If I add the word “very”, “it was very raised for a moment” does not sound right.  Hence, “it was raised” is not a participial adjective.

Q2:  I have read the explanation from the blog below in respect of dynamic passive, stative passive and participial adjective, and I found it difficult to clearly tell the difference between “stative passive” (which denotes an act) and “participial adjective” (which denotes the results of an act).  Please could you explain the difference.

Q3:  From the first link, is "the head was lifted " in "After a long silence, the head was lifted for another moment, and the voice replied, "Yes — I am working." " also a stative passive?

Q4:  It seems to me that whether or not the words are considered as stative passive or participial adjective have very little practical difference.  Can you tell the difference?

Q5: why did the author use passive? 

Last edited by terry
Original Post

Hi, Terry,

I'll answer your questions in order (one A for each Q):

A1: I think that, because of the adverbial "for a moment," the verb "was raised" in that sentence combines the dynamic passive with the adjectival use of the past participle: The head was raised and remained raised for a moment. I think there may be other verbs like these. Based on Curme's example in that blog you posted a link to, we can think of this sentence as reflecting the moment the door was shut and the time it remained shut (notice that the "for"-adverbial causes that effect): The door was shut for three hours. Another example: The crowd was hushed for a minute (it was made to stop shouting and remained silent for a minute).

A2: Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd reserve the term "stative passive" for the passive form of stative verbs, for example: He is believed to be a genius. And I'd use the term "adjectival" to refer to a past participle that is used as an adjective, as in "The dog was exhausted."

A3: "The head was lifted" sounds to me like a dynamic passive. I think "raised" works better than "lifted" to indicate that the head was in a raised position.

A4: Please refer to A2.

A5: The author used the passive to continue with that sense of detachment created by the first sentence: [...] looking down at the white head that bent low over the shoemaking (Monsieur Defarge did not look down at a person, but at a head). The same effect is obtained by mentioning "the voice" instead of saying that it was the person that responded.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

Hi, Gustavo

I have a follow-up question. Like other adverbs, the adverbial “for a moment” can be used with a noun, adverb or adjective.  It seems that we may not be able to say that the use of the adverbial “for a moment” means that “it was raised” is a dynamic passive.  It could still be an adjective.  What are the factors that you have considered in order to conclude that “it was raised” is a dynamic passive? Thanks again.

terry posted:

What are the factors that you have considered in order to conclude that “it was raised” is a dynamic passive?

Mainly, the fact that, before it was raised, the head was bent downwards. It needs to have been raised (dynamic passive) to then stay raised (adjective) for a moment.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.