grammar - Generalised rule for verb usage in simple present tense using participle

  • Luke

    I'm doing a school exercise where I have to give an explanation of the underlined (or in this case bold) verb usage in given sentences, following this format:

    I was waiting.

    past continuous (or progressive) = subject + was / were + verb + ‘-ing’ (or present participle)

    The last sentence I am to anaylse is giving me trouble:

    Toyota cars are made in Japan.

    I've indentified the tense as present simple, and cars is clearly the subject, and "are" at least one of the verbs. But what is the rule for past participles in simple present tense? I've done fairly extensive searches online and found grammar websites that give examples of the same format as present simple tense, but none that give any explanation or rule for how the past participle is used in this case.

    My best guess for the desired analysis is:

    cars are made

    Simple present = subject + is / are + past participle

    But this is only an inference, and I don't know if it accurately reflects any actual grammatical rule.

    Any help will be appreciated. (And don't worry, I'm allowed to use the internet, several links are even included with the exercise, so you're not helping me cheat)

  • Answers
  • Writer's chat about

    As StoneyB has already said, "cars are made" is a passive construction.

    In passive voice we always use an auxiliary verb + past participle combination. So, your analysis of Simple Present tense is correct.

    Here are a few others.

    Present Continuous: Cars are being made [am/is/are + being + past participle]

    Present Perfect: Cars have been made [have/has + been + past participle]

    Present Perfect Continuous: Cars have been being made [have/has + been + being + past participle] (Passive in Perfect Continuous is rarely used)

  • Related Question

    grammar - "Using Verb Tenses in Sequence"
  • lovespring

    Here, what does 'sequence' mean? Does it mean 'multiple sentences'? Or it means 'a paragraph'?

  • Related Answers
  • Writer's chat about

    I sympathise with anyone having to learn English as a second language, I really do. That explanation even confused me, a native speaker! What I think they mean by verb sequence is the order in which verbs appear in a sentence containing two clauses.

    Try this site for more info: