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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 18th, 2008, 08:03 pm
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Join Date: Sep 25th, 2008
Location: South America
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Default Homonym Hardships


This makes absolutely no sense to me...

Don't get me wrong, I love this site, it's very informative... but I have run in to something that has created a doubt in my mind:

Homonym List - Homonym List for English Learners - Letters F - L

Find - fined

find - verb -> to discover
I often find coins at the beach.

fined - adjective -> charged a penalty
He was fined $50 for illegal parking.

I do not understand how the word "fined" can be considered an adjective. isn't this the past tense of the verb "to fine (someone)", or "to be fined"?

In the above sentance "He was fined $50 for illegal parking" the word "fined" cannot be translated to Spanish under the guise of an adjective; it must fall under the verb category, am I correct?

I would appreciate any knowledge or ideas on this subject... I'm by-passing this one for now (I'm preparing lessons for tomorrow), I think it can wait ;-)

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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 19th, 2008, 06:09 am
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
Posts: 1,406
susan53 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Homonym Hardships

You're right - it's not an adjective. This is a passive construction so here it's a past participle.

The court fined them $50
They were fined $50 (by the court)

The confusion arises because past participles can have an adjectival function - for example I was surprised to hear that ...

How do you know which it is? Try adding very. If you can, then it's an adjective, if not a participle. So :

I was very surprised to hear that ... is fine, but *They were very fined is not. So surprised is acting adjectivally, while fined is a "straight" participle.

That anyway is the explanation (simplified a bit) that you'll find in the grammar books. I actually think it doesn't always stand up to investigation, but it works fine for this example.
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