Hi,

Scanning the computer's entire database, the virus program did not show the results of its search until it ____.

A. had been finished
B. was finished

The correct choice is B.

  1. First of all, I would like to know if ‘had been finished’/’was finished’ is a verbal passive or an adjective passive.
Ex) The window was broken.

This sentence alone is ambiguous because it could mean either “someone/something broke the window” or “the window was in the state resulting from prior breaking”.

But it seems that a verbal passive interpretation is the only possible choice in the first sentence because the event described in the main clause immediately follows the completion of scanning: The virus program showed the results of its research as soon as/immediately after it was finished. Am I right about this?

2. If it has a verbal reading, Can A be a correct answer as well?

Ex)

A: The flowers didn’t grow until the gardener watered them(O)/they were watered(?).

B: The flowers didn’t grow until the gardener had watered them(O)/they had been watered(?).

3. Could you take a look at the following sentence and check if the time adverbial was used properly?

Ex) I had visited Paris three times at that time.

I’m not sure if ‘at that time’ could refer to a time period extending up to ‘then’, which is a point of reference for the past perfect.

Can anybody answer my questions please?
jooneyScanning the computer's entire database, the virus program did not show the results of its search until it __.
A. had been finished
B. was finished
The correct choice is B.
First of all, I would like to know if ‘had been finished’/’was finished’ is a verbal passive or an adjective passive.
Adjective passive. ... until it came (on its own) into the state of being finished.
Not ... until some outside agent caused it to end.

jooneyEx) The window was broken.
This sentence alone is ambiguous because it could mean either “someone/something broke the window” or “the window was in the state resulting from prior breaking”.
True.

jooneyBut it seems that a verbal passive interpretation is the only possible choice in the first sentence because the event described in the main clause immediately follows the completion of scanning: The virus program showed the results of its research as soon as/immediately after it was finished. Am I right about this?
Yes. You're right.

jooney2. If it has a verbal reading, Can A be a correct answer as well?
Ex)
A: The flowers didn’t grow until the gardener watered them(O)/they were watered(?).
B: The flowers didn’t grow until the gardener had watered them(O)/they had been watered(?).
Both versions of both A and B are correct. I don't sense an adjectival passive in any of these. My brain is only picking up verbal readings.

jooney3. Could you take a look at the following sentence and check if the time adverbial was used properly?
Ex) I had visited Paris three times at that time.
It's all right. Not the most elegant choice, but all right. The listener will almost certainly interpret it as this:

I had visited Paris three times by [that time / then].

I'm not sure that answers your question, but it's all I can think of to say about it.

CJ
Hi, CJ.

Thank you for answering my questions.

I'd like to ask you additional questions regarding your asnwer to my first question.

1. First of all, I would like to know if ‘had been finished’/’was finished’ is a verbal passive or an adjective passive

Your answer: Adjective passive. ... until it came (on its own) into the state of being finished.



Not ... until some outside agent caused it to end.

A1) Can this have a verball reading as well?

The virus program scanned the computer's entire base and when it finished the scanning, it showed the results of its research: The scanning was /had been finished by the virus program.

A2) Also, I would like to know if 'had been finished' can be a correct answer as well.

Thank you.

p.s. Next time I'll try to make my questions clearer. I'm Sorry for making you confused.Emotion: sad
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jooneyA1) Can this have a verball reading as well?
The virus program scanned the computer's entire base and when it finished the scanning, it showed the results of its research: The scanning was /had been finished by the virus program.
Yes. A by-phrase introducing an agent forces a verbal reading. Nevertheless, this agent is inanimate in this case, so there is a bit of personification going on here.

jooneyA2) Also, I would like to know if 'had been finished' can be a correct answer as well.
No. It's not at all a plausible answer to the original question - not to my ear; however, others may have a different opinion on this.

CJ
Thank you so much for your answers.

As for A2), I honestly don't understand the logic behind this. Would you be kind enough to offer an explanation for this?

In the gardening example, both past perfect and simple perfect were acceptable as the complements of 'until'. Why wouldn't that be the case here?

Could you answer my questions one more time?
jooneyAs for A2), I honestly don't understand the logic behind this. Would you be kind enough to offer an explanation for this?
In the gardening example, both past perfect and simple perfect were acceptable as the complements of 'until'. Why wouldn't that be the case here?
It has to do with the fact that one example has finished and the other example has watered. The two past participles have different patterns of usage.

The past participle finished is nearly unique. There are very few others which exhibit the same pattern of usage. This is probably because it doesn't indicate an action very exactly. Instead, it indicates a certain stage in a process, namely the end stage. Nothing really happens when a process finishes, at least not in the same way that something happens when someone jumps or cuts a cake or buys a book.

Whatever the reason, here are some facts about finished that are not true of most other past participles.

The form as linking verb plus adjective has nearly the same meaning as the corresponding perfect tense of the verb.

The process is finished ~ The process has finished. (The process has come to an end.)

The process was finished ~ The process had finished. (The process had come to an end.)

The passive perfect tense without adverbial support is not adjectival.

The process has been finished. (Someone has finished it.)

The process had been finished. (Someone had finished it.)

It requires adverbial support to force an adjectival reading of finished in a perfect tense.

The process has been finished for three days.

The process had been finished for three days.

Note that the same relationships do not hold for most other verbs:

The plant is watered. NOT~ The plant has watered.

The plant was watered. NOT ~ The plant had watered.

Instead,

The plant is watered. ~ The plant has been watered. (Someone (has) watered it.)

The plant was watered. ~ The plant had been watered. (Someone (had) watered it.)

CJ
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Thank you so much for your answers and explanations. I find them extremely helpful.

Would you mind if I asked you a couple more questions one last time?

Q1)

The process is finished ~ The process has finished. (The process has come to an end.)

The process was finished ~ The process had finished. (The process had come to an end.)

The original example denotes a situation where the (scanning) process ended on its own rather than it was finished by some outside agent. That's why 'it had been' can't be a correct answer, right?

Q2)

A: Th flowers didn't grow until the gardener watered them/they were watered.

B: The flowers didn't grow until the gardner had watered them/they had been watered.

Could you explain why only the verball reading is possible in this example?
jooneyThe original example denotes a situation where the (scanning) process ended on its own rather than it was finished by some outside agent. That's why 'it had been' can't be a correct answer, right?
Yes. it had been finished would imply an outside agent and there's nothing in the sentence to suggest the action of such an outside agent.

jooneyCould you explain why only the verball verbal reading is possible in this example?
It seems to me that the explanation is that watered is not a typical adjective - maybe because other adjectives are already available (wet, moist) to do the job. Native speakers are very unlikely to say of a plant: This plant is watered, meaning it is moist enough. Also, there is no way to treat it like an adjective by saying, for example, This plant is very watered. very watered is ungrammatical, or nearly so. It's strange at the very least. But you can say This plant is already watered. Using already with it means it's verbal in nature.

CJ
Got it! I don't have any lingering feelings now. Thank you so much for the help.Emotion: smile
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