passive voice - the usage of steep

nevermore~

Member
Cantonese
According to dictionaries, when steep means soak, it is especially used in passive voice.

But I often come across sentences with the words of steep, which I found confusing:
When her tea steeped....
Fruit steeped in Brandy...

The both sentences are using the structure:
object + past participle

My confusion is, I have learnt that the passive voice structure is
object + verb-to-be + past participle, why the sentences are not:
When her tea is steeped
Fruit is steeped in Brandy

Great thanks for straightening out my confusion.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I think your first sentence illustrates the word 'especially' that you used. This is an example of active voice ('her tea steeped'), though you and your dictionary are right, it is more usually used in the passive. Without more context, it's not possible to be sure, and I think 'when her tea had steeped' would sound better.

    The second is the passive verb used as a modifier, the same way an adjective would be used. 'Fruit steeped in brandy' is a noun phrase: it can be, for example, subject or object of a sentence:

    Fruit steeped in brandy is delicious.
    I like fruit steeped in brandy.

    Passive adjectives/modifiers are very common:

    a broken window
    a window broken by the wind
    The window broken by the wind kept us awake.
    We fixed the window broken by the wind.

    This adjectival use (after its noun) is equivalent to a longer form where it's still a verb, inside a relative clause:

    The window that was broken by the wind kept us awake.
    We fixed the window that was broken by the wind.
    I like fruit that has been steeped in brandy.
     
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