In the sentence below, is the word "prepared" used correctly? I my opinion, it was incorrect, since the sentence is a general statement, therefore the verb "prepare" hasn't been been performed so therefore it should be "prepare" instead of "prepared".

The more prepared you are going into the exam, the better off you’ll be.

  • Most people who prepare do it before the event. Indeed the pre- prefix suggests this.Alternatively, compare the correct "you are more prepared" with the incorrect "you are more prepare".
    – Henry
    Oct 14 '15 at 23:40
  • @Henry I'm not sure what you're saying. So should it be prepare or prepared.
    – user142781
    Oct 14 '15 at 23:47
  • 3
    The past participle is the adjectival form of a verb. "He was more prepared."
    – Robusto
    Oct 14 '15 at 23:51
  • 1
    The first clause has present tense -- that's the "are". The -ed ending of "prepared" is not a past tense, but is the passive participle, or perhaps an adjective-forming suffix. (The passive participle is traditionally called "past participle", but that is misleading, because it is not a past tense.)
    – Greg Lee
    Oct 14 '15 at 23:55
  • 1
    I think prepared is just a plain-old adjective in this context.
    – user139454
    Oct 15 '15 at 0:32

The sentence is correct as is.

This is because prepared is actually an adjective: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prepared. If you want to get specific, in this scenario it is used as a subject complement; you can rearrange the words "prepared you are" to "you are prepared."

In short, you don't have to worry about tense in this example; though prepared ends with ed, it is not a conjugated verb. Some other examples of past participles that are used as adjectives are bored, interested, and frightened. However, if you wanted to change the sentence to use prepare as a verb, you could change the sentence to "The more you prepare for your exam, the better off you'll be."


We can say "The more you are prepared for exams, the more you will be better off."

  • 1
    No, you cannot say “the more you will be better off”, although you could get away with “the better off you will be”.
    – tchrist
    Oct 15 '15 at 2:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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