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

They are getting married in April.

2 Answers 2


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.’

  • 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. Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 11:35
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    @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.) Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 14:08
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    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
    Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 14:14
  • For 'marry' to be intranstive the sentence would have to be 'They are to marry in April.' Commented Oct 10, 2011 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. Commented Oct 10, 2011 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.

  • Is is really an adjective? Can we use this structure with other adjectives?
    – herisson
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 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
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 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. Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 20:58

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