I'm not sure about whether “What's past is past” is well-structured or not. Please help me to find out the structure of it. (I wonder if it has double passive clauses; in other words, is past here a verb or an adjective?)

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    I've always liked thinking about this phrase because when spoken it can be interpreted as, 'what's past is past' or 'what's past is passed' or 'what's passed is past' or even 'what's passed is passed' which all mean different things. – Jim Dec 12 '12 at 6:43
  • It is what it is... – J.R. Dec 12 '12 at 10:42

It is fine, as is the extended "What is past is past."

There are no passives. The main phrase is "Something is past" with the verb is followed by an adjective. That something is the clause what is past, again with the verb is followed by an adjective.

If you wanted two passives then you could write "What is passed is passed" or "What's passed is passed." Spoken, these sound the same as what you wrote.

  • There are some spelling mistakes in 2nd para, 1st line. Please review them. – Mohit Dec 12 '12 at 6:53
  • @Mohit: I spotted phase/phrase. Thanks. If there are others, feel free to edit – Henry Dec 12 '12 at 7:07
  • I would have, but it has a minimum 6-character limit. Also, "Thee" in the same line could be fixed up! :) – Mohit Dec 12 '12 at 7:34
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    @Mohit, right, the proper wording is “thou art” rather than “thee are” – James Waldby - jwpat7 Dec 12 '12 at 7:39

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