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  1. learning54's Avatar
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    #1

    Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    Hi Teachers,
    Could you tell me which tense is 'were sold out' in the following sentence?

    When they finally arrived at the cinema, all the tickets were sold out.

    Thank you

  2. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    (Not a Teacher)

    "Were" is the verb here. Think of "sold out" as a predicate adjective referring to the tickets.

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    #3

    Re: Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    Quote Originally Posted by learning54 View Post
    Hi Teachers,
    Could you tell me which tense is 'were sold out' in the following sentence?

    When they finally arrived at the cinema, all the tickets were sold out.

    Thank you
    Were = simple past.

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    #4

    Cool Re: Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    It is past tense and passive form.

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    #5

    Re: Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    Quote Originally Posted by kahhong View Post
    It is past tense and passive form.
    That's debatable. 'Were sold' is clearly passive in, "Tickets were sold during office hours only". In the sentence we are looking at, SlickVic's suggestion that 'sold out' is an adjective is possible. It is often not possible to be sure whether the past participle used after BE is functioning adjectivally or as part of a passive construction. Whatever it is in learning54's sentence, 'were' is past simple.

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    #6

    Re: Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    The tickets did not sell themselves! Somebody sold them, and there are none left.
    Which makes you think that it should be past passive, but if the stocks are finished we must assume that no more selling is taking place ....... so sold out has the function of adjective.
    If we sell more tickets, they will be sold (future passive) until stocks run out

  4. learning54's Avatar
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    #7

    Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    Hi Teachers,
    Thanks a lot for all your replies, they really have helped me. It is a passive sentence, where the doer is not important but the action is. Right?

    Learning54
    Regards

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    Technically, the tickets aren't "sold out". The show is "sold out". The tickets have "all been sold".

    However, you will hear "the tickets are sold out" a lot.

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Tense Problem 'were sold out'

    Quote Originally Posted by learning54 View Post
    It is a passive sentence, where the doer is not important but the action is.
    That is one possible reading.

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