I read the following sentence in a grammar drill:

I was disappointed.

The ans key marks disappointed as adjective. I thought it to be a compound verb - was disappointed. Is that correct ?

  • You've forgotten to put the original grammar drill point in your question! Sep 25, 2014 at 21:55
  • @Araucaria: I think that the example sentence is the last three words of the opening paragraph. I've formatted it that way, anyway.
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 25, 2014 at 22:53
  • It's an adjective formed from a past participle. It has adjective superpowers -- it can precede nouns: She was a disappointed shopper. It could be a past participle, if this was a passive: She was disappointed by her husband. Or it could be a predicate adjective, if it wasn't: She was disappointed at her husband. But in this sentence there isn't enough information to tell which one it is. BTW, any drill that only makes you label POS is pretty lame; you know that, right? Sep 26, 2014 at 2:01
  • @JohnLawler: Lol. Taking a quick look at basic grammar book to see if I still remember high school grammar rules :P Turns out I don't remember and need practice :(
    – acoolguy
    Sep 26, 2014 at 12:51
  • That's all right. The best thing you can do is ignore grammar class in grade or high school. All they'll do there is bore or scare you, because they weren't taught grammar, either. Sep 26, 2014 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


It is both an adjective and a verb at the same time, as participles normally are.

Externally, it is an adjective, in that it can be governed by a head noun, just like an adjective: I was angry, I was disappointed (the head noun modified by it is I).

Internally, it is a verb, in that it comes from a verb and it can have some of the same arguments as verbs: I was disappointed by her behaviour etc.


no, I don't think so

in that context it would be a an adjective... disappointed as in "to be disappointed" is to be depressed or discouraged...

disappointed as the the past tense verb would be to disappoint someone. like "I disappointed my dad" which means I made my dad disappointed(adjective)

I hope that helps


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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