What's the difference? I think these two sentences seems slightly different. But I don't know the exact difference. Could anybody explain the difference to me?


3 Answers 3


The door was open.

In this sentence 'open' is an adjective. It means 'not closed or blocked up'. The sentence has the same structure as 'the boy was smart' or 'the girl is beautiful'.

The door was opened.

This sentence is a passive. It means 'somebody opened the door' in an active voice. Here 'open' is used as a verb. 'Open' is used in its past participle form. I will give you a few more examples:

The door was opened. -> Somebody opened the door.
The food was eaten. -> Somebody ate the food.

Both sentences have the same structure.


The first sounds incomplete. Ideally, it would be followed by a reference to the person who opened the door.


The door was opened by Peter.

This is the passive voice of the following sentence: "Peter opened the door." (this is active voice).

The second is a standalone sentence. It just means the door was open, and not closed.


It looked like I'd rung the bell unnecessarily. The door was open.

  • Your first example would only be possible in this scenario (and this scenario only): The door was booby-trapped, and now a bunch of parties concerned are trying to figure out which one of them is the idiot who opened it, and someone steps forward with an educated guess.
    – Ricky
    Dec 1, 2015 at 9:30
  • I didn't say "necessarily", I said "ideally" and the example was just given as an illustration.There can definitely be variations.
    – Mamta D
    Dec 1, 2015 at 9:51

Should someone ask you "How did you get in here?" and you tell them "The door was open," they'll nod sagely and let you get on with whatever you were doing before they came in.

However, should you reply, "The door was opened," they'll compliment you on your fantastic English, after which they'll ask you, out of curiosity, what country you're from.

That, in a nutshell, is the difference. However, the other answer is also valid.

  • This doesn't explain the difference at all.
    – AndyT
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:11
  • @AndyT: Would you like me to rewrite it in terza rima?
    – Ricky
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:23
  • No. What I would like you to do is continue giving your sensible and helpful answers (of which there are many) and avoid giving sarcastic and useless answers.
    – AndyT
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:51
  • @AndyT: All my answers are ironic (which isn't the same as sarcastic). None of them are unquestionably useless.
    – Ricky
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:53

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