The window was broken. The window got broken. The window seemed broken. The window ended up broken.

All these sentences look like passive voice examples to me. But I have only found terms "passive" and "get-passive". Can other linking verbs replace "be"?

  • 2
    No, they can't all be used instead of be. You can use get for the passive, but that's the only one. The other verbs have special constructions where the be is optional (that happens with very common, very old, very basic verbs like these), and so there are sentences where be doesn't occur. There are also sentences where it does, because it's part of the construction. This doesn't make them alternates of be; even get is only used instead of be in the passive -- everywhere else it means something different. Apr 7, 2021 at 22:13
  • 1
    Seems is an object-oriented verb of perception. It has an agent that doesn't appear in the sentence. This is typical. Noticed works in a similar manner. End up is just an ordinary copula here.
    – Phil Sweet
    Apr 7, 2021 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


The second two examples have broken as an adjective. The get example has it as a past participle, and the be example is ambiguous.

The window was broken by the ball. [past participle]

The window was pretty broken. [adjective]

Try the same series with a verb that has a past participle which doesn't share a shape with an adjective.

The window was cleaned.

The window got cleaned.

*The window seemed cleaned.

*The window ended up cleaned.

The passive voice is made up of be or get and a past participle, whereas 'linking verbs' take a noun or adjective. Be can mark passive voice or serve as a 'linking verb' depending on context. Get can have a 'linking verb' interpretation, especially with comparatives.

The window got smaller.

  • Thank you very, very much! :-) Apr 14, 2021 at 21:16

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