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Dear users

please consider these two sentences:

1. In fact, if all parties are agreed, possibly they do not need the sanction of the court.

2. And once changes are agreed, they cease to be the adjustments of the Government.

I assume that in #1 'agreed' is an adjectival past participle rather than part of a passive verb construction ('be + past participle'). My question is: is it possible to replace 'are agreed' with 'agree' without changing the meaning of the sentence? When is 'are agreed' preferred to 'agree'?

And one more point: you would probably agree that in #2 'are agreed' is a passive verb construction ('be' + past participle of 'agree'). My question is: is there any foolproof way of distinguishing adjectival past particples from similar passive verb constructions?

Contributions appreciated.
Mirek
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Comments  
Is it possible to replace 'are agreed' with 'agree' without changing the meaning of the sentence?-- Yes, but I think it's passive.
When is 'are agreed' preferred to 'agree'?-- The former is more formal.

Is there any foolproof way of distinguishing adjectival past participles from similar passive verb constructions?-- Try modifying it: They are very agreed? Are they very excited?
Mister MicawberYes, but I think it's passive.
Mister Micawber, do you mean that 'are agreed' in #1 is passive? Could you elaborate please?

'They are very agreed' doesn't sound right to my non-native ear so 'agreed' must be a verb.
'They are very excited' sounds right so 'excited' must be an adjectival past participle. Is that what you mean?

Mirek
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Yes, that's what I meant, Mirek– that's why I suggested that #1 is passive: 'they are very agreed' does not sound quite right to me, though it is possible, I guess.
Mister Micawber, yes, "They are very agreed" does sound strange. If I'm not mistaken, grammar books want us to say "They are very much agreed," because most native speakers still consider "agree" as a verb. On the other hand, as you pointed out, "excited" is accepted as an adjective.
Let me ask one more question: if 'are agreed' in #1 is passive, does it imply involvement of a third party? someone who makes the others agree?

Mirek
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No, they are agreed by sitting down and discussing, I would think.
I am not sure I follow your train of thought. A passive clause presupposes an active clause with a direct object. So if 'all parties are agreed' is passive, then 'all parties' must be the object of the corresponding active clause. How do they come to an agreement then? Am I missing something?
I am not confident of our classification from the start of this thread, but my immediate point is that it needn't be another powerful sentient being that is the agent. Here, 'productive discussion' might be the agent-- productive discussion caused them to come to agreement.
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