I have a quick question: what's the difference between these two noun + adjective forms.

  • The ripe apple.
  • The ripened apple.

From my understanding, use of past participle as an adjective suggests the maker: as if someone has made the apple ripe.

I'll be very glad to know what native-english speakers think of that. Thank you.

1 Answer 1


Use of a past participle as an adjective can suggest a maker if the verb is one of making.

  • ripe is a stative adjective.
    It can occur as a predicate adjective, with an auxiliary be. But not in the progressive.
    I.e, you can say The apple is ripe, but not *The apple is being ripe.
  • ripen is a causative/inchoative verb meaning either
    • 'to become ripe' (the intransitive inchoative sense),
    • 'to cause to become ripe' (the transitive causative sense).

The causative sense can be a verb of making, with an agent subject

  • These apples have been ripened with ethylene; they are ripened apples.

But ripened apples can also simply mean apples that have ripened (perfect construction from the inchoative), as well as apples that have been ripened (perfect passive construction from causative).

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