English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the grammar of the word married in this sentence?

They are getting married in April.

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The ‘Cambridge Grammar of English’ by Carter and McCarthy calls this construction the get-passive. That perhaps becomes clearer if we re-write the sentence as They will be married in April. Married is the past participle of the verb marry, just as it is in the more conventional passive. As the authors say, 'the get-passive is used in more informal contexts and is more common in spoken than in written English.’

share|improve this answer
This usage of 'marry' is intransitive, so it can't be the get- passive. I'd say it's a case of the past participle being used as an adjective. – Gaston Ümlaut Oct 10 '11 at 11:35
@Gaston: Why is this usage of 'marry' intransitive? I would have thought it was the same usage as "The minister married the bride and the groom", which is definitely transitive. (It's still transitive even if you get married by a judge.) – Peter Shor Oct 10 '11 at 14:08
It's just occurred to me to wonder whether this construction is calqued from Celtic (as "do support" is said to be). In Welsh the passive is usually expressed using "cael" = "get", as in "cael ei dorri" = "get its breaking" = "be broken". – Colin Fine Oct 10 '11 at 14:14
For 'marry' to be intranstive the sentence would have to be 'They are to marry in April.' – Barrie England Oct 10 '11 at 14:19
@PeterShor No, 'they are getting married' indicates the referents of 'they' are marrying each othe; it has only the one argument, the subject 'they'. 'The minister married the bride and groom' has two arguments, subject (the minister) and object (bride and groom), so is transitive. A third verb 'marry' is seen in 'John married her'; this is transitive. – Gaston Ümlaut Oct 10 '11 at 21:00

It's a past participle used as an adjective. So it's an adjective. The problem is the action and process involved in this word as it means that an act is going to happen.

share|improve this answer
Is is really an adjective? Can we use this structure with other adjectives? – sumelic Oct 5 '15 at 2:40
"They are getting employed/hired in April" seems to work, is employed acting like an adjective here also? An alternative rewording would be: "Someone is employing/hiring them in April" – Mari-Lou A Oct 5 '15 at 5:08
I wouldn't know what else it would be if not an adjective. Past participles that are not used in the verb tense are often adjectives. The "married" couple showed up today. You can replace that adjective with another one: they are getting "ugly" tonight. But you can also say they are getting "married" tonight. No other word category but adjectives fit. – Danny Rodriguez Oct 6 '15 at 20:58

protected by RegDwigнt Jan 10 '12 at 15:15

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.