Why do we say “open” and “closed”? Why is one in present tense and the other in past tense?

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Edit: to clarify, I mean when shops have a sign that says “open” versus “closed”. Why is it not “opened/closed” or “open/close”?

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31 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because when open, it’s live and happening. Closed is past tense because you’re referring to the fact you were open in the past. I’d you weren’t previously open, there’d be nothing to close.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

They are both adjectives describing a thing. “Open” can be used as an adjective. “Closed” meaning covered or shut is the adjective form of the word “close.”

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because *Close* does not exist in English as an adjective like *Open* does. It’s past participle, *Closed*, does.

Anonymous 0 Comments

how is saying something IS currently closed past-tense..?

Anonymous 0 Comments

if you say, its opened, it means that it has been opened but it is not sure, if it still is open.

and if there is no sign, but a cat, thats shroedingers shop.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Set X is open. Set Y is closed. Both are present tense because that instance of “closed” is an adjective, not a past participle. You would never say that set Z *was* closed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We do say close and opened as well.

“close the door” because it’s a thing that has not happened yet.

“The door was opened” because it is a thing that happened in the past.

So we use open, opened, close and closed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

My rational for closed being past tense is that “close” as an adjective has a different meaning, like “close call”
Why not say opened instead of open then? I have no idea

Anonymous 0 Comments

The boring answer for questions like this one is “because that’s the way the people used those words”.

If you go one level deeper and ask “but why did they do that?”, there isn’t always a single good logical reason we can point to.

In this particular case, even though in the modern language the verbs “to open something” and “to close something” seem to be exact opposites, the words have a very different etymology.

The earliest form of “open” in English is as an adjective, the verb was formed from the adjective later. Independently and from a different source English got the verb “to close” and from that it eventually formed two different adjectives: “close” (as in “near”) and “closed” (as in “shut”).

In some similar cases the language did evolve to make the similarly-used words also have similar forms, but in this case it’s possible that the existence of the second adjective with a different meaning is what prevented the change.