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English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:
I recently wrote the sentence, I saw the deadline was a month passed, and have confused myself over whether it should bepastorpassed.
I believe it ispassedperhaps as an adverbial past participle?because I am not referring to thepast month, specifically, but thata month has passed. Also, if I take out a month I am left with, I saw the deadline was passed which I believe is more the meaning I seek (even if awkward) than I saw the deadline was past. I am not confident, though.
Potentially relevant previous questions:
Past due or passed due
date has already passed OR date has already past? This question, though, is simply a matter of the poster not knowing the meanings of
It seems to me that the sentence is incorrect withpassed. It would say that thedeadlinewasa month passed, but the deadline does not equate in any obvious way toa month passed. It does seem, however, that one could say that the deadline wasa month past, if one considersa month pastequivalent toa month ago. Colloquially, that would locate the deadline in time, which is acceptable.
I saw the deadline was a month past.
A few obvious ways to avoid the problem:
I saw that the deadlinehadpassed. (notwas)
I saw that the deadline hadpasseda month ago.
I saw that I was one monthpastthe deadline.
I saw that I waspastthe deadline by a month.
If I try to stay as close as possible to your structure:
Im sorry but I dont follow your logic for it seems you are claiming the invalidity if all non-tautological statements. Would you then also say that we could not say The deadline was a month gone-by or The deadline was a month ago or even The deadline was yesterday? Could you please expand upon your reasoning?
@Unrelated I didnt intend to claim that, so I may need to refine my answer. Your 2nd and 3rd examples here are fine, because theyre statements about where the deadline is located in time: colloquially, I can equate deadline to a month ago or yesterday. In your original example, I wouldnt have objected to The deadline was a month (or a day) ago. I do object to replacing ago with passed or past, but I dont have the command of grammatical terminology necessary to explain why. I have a similar issue with a month gone-by — it doesnt mean the same thing to me as a month ago.
@Unrelated I revised my answer based on our exchange. Thanks for engaging.
@Unrelated With new thinking in hand, a month gone-by seems fine if one considers it equivalent to a month ago. It locates the deadline in time.
It should be a month past withduebeing implied. Otherwise youd need to make it more clear that the deadline had been passed, like the deadline had been passed.
I understand what you mean and it could be considered correct but its ambiguous. The deadline was passed by a month is what you mean, but youre setting the operative word in a place that begs interpretation even if the result is the same.
I understand your thinking, but a better option would be the deadline was a month exceeded.
What if I were to use a different noun than deadline though? The celebration was a month past?
@Unrelated, Your original statement works, but with respect to expectations in time past is more clear. The time for you to return the letter is past. The conversation is a month passed. The moment I raised the ante was 3 minutes passed. Its just a little awkward.
The celebration was a month past is incorrect for reasons I provided in my answer. You could make any number of other statements that are correct: The celebration took place a month ago. We are one month past the celebration. One month has passed since the celebration. Et cetera.
@RichardKayser, of course. What are
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