According to the rules of compound adjectives, the Ving/Ved in "Adv-Ving/Ved" create relies on the original verb in a sentence. For instance, "well-liked" originates from "somebody is preferred well." In this string, because the "liked" is a passive develop, when it pertains to its compound adjective, it should be "well-liked."

My question is: we say "somebody behaves well." However, as soon as it comes to creating the matching compound adjective, it becomes "well-behaved," in which "behaved" seems also to be a passive participle. One would intend "well-behaving".

You are watching: Well behaved or well-behaved

I have done many research yet have discovered no certain reason for this. Somebody has shelp to me that it"s simply an exemption, yet I am simply so curious around whether there actually is a reason for this.

Improve this question
edited Oct 30 "19 at 13:08

Edwin Ashworth
66.2k1111 gold badges120120 silver badges210210 bronze badges
asked Oct 30 "19 at 0:24

2133 bronze badges
Add a comment |

1 Answer 1

Active Oldest Votes
Quick answer: This is a consequence of the original (1fifth century) behaviour of the verb behave.

CAVEAT: "Why?" questions can frequently be unanswerable in historical linguistics. One have the right to only comment on factors that can have had an affect, and also describe how they communicate via the passage of time.

The verb behave was formed in the late 15th century as a transparent compound of be- and have. But it was mainly used reflexively, i.e. via an item pronoun -self or among its develops. For example, from William Caxton in 1474:

Ony male that wylle truly behaue hym self.

From the King James Version of the Holy bible, printed in 1611:

1 Chronicles xix.13: Let vs behaue our selues valiantly for our world.

Its usage as an independent adjective, beheft or behaved, is attested in Shakespeare. From Hamlet, Act III:

And gather by him as he is behau"d, Ift be th" affliction of his loue or no.

Its usage via well- as well-behaved is attested by the OED from the late 16th century. From 1577, in a "Prayer of Solitarinesse" by Roger Baynes:

Musispeak to birdes..maye rightly be sayde, to followe a wished and also well behaued kinde of life.

Only later did the verb behave come to be an intransitive verb, without a reflexive pronoun. The OED days it earlier to 1721 - from Edward Young"s "Revenge: A Tragedy":

As you behave, Your father"s kindness stabs me to the heart.

Even in the future, from the 19th century onwards, did behave start being applied as an intransitive verb to inanimate noun subjects such as words, chemical aspects, and also mathematical functions.

See more: Why Are Acquired Traits Unimportant In The Process Of Evolution

Hence, the use of the passive previous participle behaved as an adjective came initially, as soon as one still behaved oneself. Only in the 18th century did behave become intransitive, however by that time well-behaved had actually been establiburned in the language for numerous a century.

The OED draws parallels in between behaved, learned and well-read, with comparable semantics and also comparable use of the previous participle as the adjective. I would likewise draw parallels between behave oneself and also the idea of carry oneself, still visible in the French reflexive verb se comporter, which is the basis of the French tantamount for the noun, comportement definition behaviour. This is also paralleled in dress oneself, which formed its adjective well dressed in the late 15th century also.