Many people were outraged at the court's decision.

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
M-W Learner's Dictionary has this example sentence for the verb "outrage":
(1) Many people were outraged at the court's decision.
The dictionary does not list "outraged" as an adjective.

Question 1. Is it possible to consider "outraged" in this example to be an adjective? Or is it always in the passive voice and never an adjective?

For comparison, let me replace outraged with some other words:
(2) Many people were upset at the court's decision.
(3) Many people were angry at the court's decision.

Now, there is the verb "upset" and there is also an adjective "upset" listed in the dictionary.
And "angry" is of course only an adjective.

Question 2. Is "upset" in (2) always an adjective and never in the passive voice?
 
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  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    "Outraged" is a past participle being used as an adjective. "Upset" can, likewise, be an adjective or a past participle.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Outraged' is an adjective there, as each person could say, 'I'm outraged.' (Present tense, beside the passive 'I was outraged by the decision'.) And although I wouldn't want to put too much weight on this, I think basically 'at' indicates adjectival use, while 'by' indicates the passive. 'Upset' and 'outraged' can take both, whereas the non-verb 'angry' can only take 'at'.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Do you know of any dictionary that lists "outraged" as an adjective?
    'Cause there is none as far as I can find.
    But every dictionary I've consulted has "upset" listed as an adjective as well as a verb.

    Are the dictionaries simply being unreliable on this matter?
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Many past participles can be used as adjectives in English. They won't necessarily be listed that way in dictionaries.

    "The spilled (spilt) water made the floor slippery."
    "He ate too many stuffed green peppers and was sorry later."
    "We will be taking an extended vacation."
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Well the OED does, with examples (of this sense) from 1836 (Mr. Abercrombie was guilty of the heinous crime of not interposing to check the vengeance of the outraged orator.), but they're very thorough about it, and I don't think lesser dictionaries particularly need to specially mention every transitive past participle that can be used as an adjective - because, as far as I am aware, they all can. In a few cases (bored, interested, excited, upset) the adjective use is dominant and it should be listed as such.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks, Rover.
    I used to go there often but somehow I've drifted away to several Oxford/M-W dictionaries.:)
    Maybe is it the fact that the word 'outrage' both as a noun and a verb is related to a person's feeling that more readily renders the past participle form of the word an adjective??
     
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