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Hi all

I was reeading this post
http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/Passive/zcvpl/Post.htm
by Lin1978 and ran across this sentence:

«Women are encountering forms of hostility they weren’t prepared to meet...»

and I have no idea why it's "weren't prepared" instead of "aren't prepared". Assuming "prepared" is a verb in passive voice (not an adjective), the meaning that I get is that nobody prepared the women to meet those forms of hostility, which seems a bit strange to me becaouse of the implication that it is/was someone other's duty to prepare them.

Can you please help me to figure out the correct meaning?

Thanks in advance,
Anton

P.S.: The sentence is from an NYT article, and I have corrected the slightly distorted quotation that Lin1978 gave.
Comments  
Hi,

To me "prepared" is an adjective here.

[url= ]Cambridge Adv. Learners[/url]:
prepared adjective
ready to deal with a situation:
When she called on me, I wasn't prepared.
They were prepared for the worst.
Tanit: But how do you explain the Past Simple tesne then?
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Hi Anton

People can also prepare themselves for things. So, the sentence simply says that nobody (i.e. neither the women themselves nor anybody else) prepared women for the hostility they might encounter before they actually encountered the hostility.

I would say that "weren't prepared" is passive in the sentence and simply places the preparation (or lack thereof) in the past -- i.e. before the current encounters with hostility.

If you say "aren't prepared" in the same sentence, then I would interpret "prepared" as an adjective describing a state.

Does that help?
Hi Amy,

I thought it could be something like "Women were not ready to encounter those forms of difficulties they are actually facing now."
May I ask you to expand on the difference you pointed out? Why do you consider "prepared" as an adjective only when the verb is present?

Many thanks! Emotion: smile
Good point, Tanit. In this particular sentence, I guess it would probably best to say it's a borderline case whether you consider "weren't prepared" to be passive or simply the past tense of "be" followed by an adjective.
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Thanks, Amy!
I completely agree.
Thanks for the feedback!

Tanit:

«"Women were not ready to encounter those forms of difficulties
they are actually facing now.»

Ok. They were not ready to encounter the difficulties. They are facing them now. But are they ready now? Your sentence tell nothing about that. Right? It only says they were not ready in the past...

«May I ask you to expand on the difference you pointed out? Why do you consider "prepared" as an adjective only when the verb is present?»

Because translating "aren't prepared" as a stative verb makes more sence than treating it like passive voice. Hope you agree on it.

However, in the original example it's seems vice versa (as Amy explained).

Yankee:

«People can also prepare themselves for things»

Yes, but using passive voice to point to yourself from without is kinda complicated to my mind. Isn't it like going to a neighbour through another city?

«I would say that "weren't prepared" is passive in the sentence and simply places the preparation (or lack thereof) in the past»

Ok, but I felt it somehow rendered the preparation obsolette (not actual at the current moment). Wouldn't Present Perfect work better?

«Does that help?»

Well, "the sky is gettin' clearer".

«Good point, Tanit. In this particular sentence, I guess it would probably best to say it's a borderline case whether you consider "weren't prepared" to be passive or simply the past tense of "be" followed by an adjective.»

But it must be a passive to make sense, right? If it's an adjective then "aren't" is required (as you said yourself). So, there's no dilemma of what it is (given we use the word "weren't").