Passive or progressive used as a adj.?

Hi there,

My question this time is about 'how do you use passive or progressive verb form to describe something?'

For example,

- I sat in the garden and watched the passing cars.

Can I say 'I sat in the garden and watched the passed cars'?

Or 'I sat in the garden and watched the cars passed'?

What if I change the verb "watched" to "counted", which form should I use? "passed" or "passing"?

Many thanks!


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  • So, it doesn't matter the tense but the state of the object I describe.
    • Hi Rick.

      Here are other examples:

      1. I heard a crying baby. (the baby that was crying)
      2. There are a lot of money in the stolen wallet. (the wallet that were stolen)
      3. I saw flying birds. (birds that were flying)
      4. He is fixing the broken printer. (The printer that were broken)

      Yup, it depends the context. Most welcome. Thanks. 

      Sorry for my belated response.

  • Great explanation! Thanks Onee-chan.
  • Thans for help. Yes, I found the first sentence from the web dictionary Collins. I do think it is correct. It is that the V.ed makes me a little bit confused.
  • Wow, I envy you a lot as you have a quite huge backyard. I'm just wondering if I could park my spaceship there, so that I may come over to you next time? LOL
  • Ohh, don't let it happen, Rys.

    But it's great to know that you were safe, sitting and watching when Boeing landed in the backyard. :D

  • Oi there folks,

     I wouldn't be myself if I did not add something different from the usual, just to make a mess...LOL....from my part I would say:

      I was sitting in the garden watching the cars that passed by when the Boeing landed in my backyard. 

  • The first one is correct as Onee explained. 


  • Hello Rick,

    Great question! Let me try to explain.

    From your examples:

    1) I sat in the garden and watched the passing cars.

    "The passing cars" means the cars that were passing. CORRECT.

    2) I sat in the garden and watched the passed cars.

    "The passed cars" means the cars that were passed (by people/something). It is possible, but you see, you watched the cars that were not moving.

    3) I sat in the garden and watched the cars passed.

    This means the same with "the passed cars", passive after noun and before noun.

    4) I sat in the garden and watched the cars passing.

    Watch is a perceptive verb.

    I watched the cars passing means you watched the cars that were passing (activity in progress). ALSO CORRECT.

    This is just based on grammatical rules. If I have to choose, I will focus on watching the PASSING cars. I can imagine that it will give me headache. lol.

    "Pass by" is a phrasal verb. It has several meanings. I'm not good at using phrasal verbs. ^^

    Thank you for this discussion. Good day!

  • I think they are all correct. However, the meaning of them are slightly different.

    'watched the passing cars' means that "cars are passing by, and I'm watching this scene".

    'watched the passed cars' means that "several cars has passed in front of me, and I'm watching THESE cars, but not those cars haven't come to me yet."

    This is from my personal understanding.

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