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Is "dressed up" an adjective?

 
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Is "dressed up" an adjective? Reply with quote

Hello,
I know the expression "dress up" is a phrasal verb and means the following: to
wear clothes that are more formal than the ones you would usually wear. Is the
expression "dressed up" an adjective in following sentences?
1. I was dressed up for the party.
2. I got dressed up for the party.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 2993
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'dressed up' there is a past participle + preposition construction, that is, a constituent phrase or even a sort of compound, which is functioning yes as an adjective (or an adjectival, a term which can help make it clearer that this is not a single actual adjective that we're talking about here).

Don't let not knowing the exact form/formal label for something stop you from perfoming function substitution tests:

I was/got drunk/naked for/at the party. ('Drunk' and 'naked' are clearly adjectives, so whatever can fill the same slot will likely also be functioning adjectivally).

(For the sake of comprehensiveness): In just 'I was/got dressed' meanwhile, the 'dressed' is still a participle and a sort of adjectival, and can be thus be called a 'participial adjective'. Note that 'I was dressed' can refer to a "state" (regardless of who exactly did the dressing, the speaker or others), or to what was done by some agent to the speaker (i.e. be "passive" in meaning, as in the fully-explicit 'I was dressed by somebody', versus its active equivalent 'Somebody dressed me'), whilst 'I got dressed' most likely means I did the action myself (cf. the slightly strange-sounding 'I got dessed by somebody') with the result that I could be called 'dressed' (compare 'I dressed myself'). It is therefore something of a misnomer to call the more dynamic variant with 'got' the "get-passive", but I guess that's what analogizing on the basis of structural similarites (rather than actual functional differences) can result in!


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: thank you very much Reply with quote

Hello,
I truly appreciate your taking the time to answer my question in such a detailed way.
Best wishes
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