What isn't the man <allowed> to do?

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Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi teachers,
Context:
Man: One, I am not permitted to disclose any information about the identity of my employers.

Is "allowed" an adjective in the question below? It looks like to me. I just don't find a dictionary that says so.
What isn't the man allowed to do? To disclose any information about the identity of his employers.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    It's a (transitive) verb here.
    Thanks, Barque.
    To be a transitive verb, first, it has to be an action verb, expressing an activity. Second, it must have a direct object, something or someone who receives the action of the verb.
    Having said that, which is the direct object in the question?

    TL
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    "Allowed" implies an act of giving permission - that's the "activity" here. In this case the man was not allowed (not given permission) to disclose the identity of his employers (the object).
     

    Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I think the "allowed" in your sentence is an adjective, because we could use adjectives here, e.g. "What isn't the man able to do?", "What isn't the man keen to do?" and similar.
    Thanks for your interest, sound shift. As I said, it looks like to me too, but I don't find a dictionary that says so.:confused:

    TL
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    I wasn't absolutely sure when I posted, sound shift, and I have been thinking over it.

    In #5, you compared the OP's sentence that used "allowed" to sentences like "What isn't the man able to do?" and "What isn't the man keen to do?"

    I think there's a difference. The words "able" and "keen" are adjectives; they describe a quality of that man - his (lack of) ability and keenness. But that's not the case with "allowed". If a man has not been allowed to do something by someone else, it's not a quality or a characteristic of that man. It describes an action that has been applied towards him by someone - denying him permission - and so I feel it's a verb.
     
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