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    • Join Date: Jun 2007
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    passive or adjective

    Dear Teachers

    "He was flabbergasted when we told him how cheap it was. "

    May I know if this sentence is passive or if "flabbergasted" is used as an adjective

    Also, please let me know in structures as this how exacty can we determine which is which

    kind regards

  1. Senior Member
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    Re: passive or adjective

    As I understand it, the basic idea is that the passive voice implies that the subject suffers some action upon himself, whereas the adjective just describes the state of the subject.

    So: The water he drank was boiled. <--- boiled is an adjective.
    The water he drank had been boiled <--- passive voice.
    During the experiment, the water was boiled on the Bunsen burner <--- passive voice.

    In your case, it's a very close call, isn't it? Because you told him something though, and that's what flabbergasted him, I'd say it's a passive. But does it matter, in the end? The meaning is the same. If someone insists it's an adjective, I won't protest.

  2. glitterstar101

    Re: passive or adjective


    I think it is a passive as well. As flabbergasted is the result of how cheap it was.

    Could flabbergasted be a verb?

    Isn't it the same as "he was shocked when we told him how cheap it was"

    Isn't this an action verb?

    I am interested in possible solutions too.

    (student teacher)

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
    Retired English Teacher
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    Re: passive or adjective

    verb [T often passive] INFORMAL
    to shock someone, usually by telling them something they were not expecting:
    He was flabbergasted when we told him how cheap it was.

    adjective INFORMAL
    When they announced her name, the winner just sat there, flabbergasted.

    (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

    It seems it can be a verb, I don't remember ever having heard it used as one though.

  4. RonBee's Avatar
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    Re: passive or adjective

    I think it's an adjective indicating a person's state of mind. Examples:
    surprised, shocked, happy, eager, anxious, angry, repentant

  5. IvanV's Avatar

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
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    Re: passive or adjective

    He was flabbergasted when we told him how cheap it was. We really surprised him.

    I vote a verb.

  6. glitterstar101

    Re: passive or adjective

    That does makes sense as it is providing more information about the noun rather than what he was doing.

    The great benefits of discourse!


  7. glitterstar101

    Re: passive or adjective

    Now I am confused, maybe it is a verb?

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    Re: passive or adjective

    Please note I'm not a teacher; I'm just try to learn the language.
    I may be wrong.
    transitive verb :
    The boy kicked the ball.
    or in passive :
    The ball was kicked by the boy.
    Applying to the above example it would be like :

    We flabbergasted him [by telling how cheap it was].
    He was flabbergasted by us [telling how cheap it was].

    But we do not have the doer so I'd say it's a subject complement therefore it is an adjective.

    PS or maybe transitive verb doesn't need the doer.

    Last edited by Jaskin; 08-Feb-2009 at 00:02.

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