In many grammar descriptions, it says that adjectives that end in -ed are used to describe a feeling (or how a person feels) or an emotion. It is used to describe a temporary thing.

With an adjective like "rented", is this a different type of adjective? Or is this just an exception to the rule?

Here are some of the grammar explanations that state this: https://www.grammar.cl/Notes/Adjectives_ED_ING.htm


  • 1
    Hmm.  I just drove my recently washed car to the renovated restaurant to get some baked chicken and fried rice.  I had a faded photograph in the pocket of my mended shirt. … … … … … … … … Can you cite (i.e., identify by name and link) one or two of the “many grammar descriptions” that state this ‘rule’? … … … … … … … … Please do not respond in comments; edit your question to make it clearer and more complete.
    – Scott
    Oct 6 '20 at 1:51
  • 1
    So "painted", "killed", "printed", "smoked", "measured", et al are all describing temporary feelings or emotions.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 6 '20 at 1:53
  • In, for example, "a rented car", "rented" is a verb, not an adjective.
    – BillJ
    Oct 6 '20 at 7:46
  • 1
    @RyanM The first link is useless. It doesn't even begin to address the question of why only a few ed words are adjectives.
    – BillJ
    Oct 6 '20 at 8:14
  • 1
    In any case, you’re missing the point. The OP asked if “tested” is an exception to the "rule" that ed adjectives describe a feeling (or how a person feels) or an emotion. But it isn't an 'exception' at all because it's not an adjective but a verb, as the tests prove. That’s why the tests are so important. Btw, we're talking specifically about ed adjectives/verbs here, though the same would apply to the contrast between ing verbs and ing adjectives, e.g. "The Smiths are entertaining (ing verb) the neighbours this evening" vs "The Smiths are a very entertaining (ing adj) couple".
    – BillJ
    Oct 6 '20 at 14:28

a rented house

a confused/bored child

Your mistake is in assuming that "rented" is an adjective here. It isn't; it's a verb. Compare "rented" to "confused" and "bored"

[1] "Rented" can't be modified by "very", but "confused/bored" can: we can say "a very confused/bored child", but not *"a very rented car".

[2] "Rented" can't occur as complement to complex-intransitive verbs like "become": we can say "The child became quite bored/confused", but not *"The house became quite rented".

[3] "Rented" can't occur as complement to complex-transitive verbs like "find": we can say "I found the child quite bored/confused", but not *"I found the house quite rented".

The range of expressions that can occur as pre-head modifier to a noun is very large and varied: we don't want to call them all adjectives. "Confused" and "bored" have the properties of indisputable adjectives and hence must belong in that class, but "rented" doesn't and hence is analysed as a verb phrase in an example like "a rented car".

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