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What's the right way to tell a present passive participle from an adjective? I guess if the agent is mentioned (like in "Изменяемый мною проект"), then it's for sure a participle. But what about such cases, in which the agent is not mentioned? Like the ones below:

СМИ уже больше не обращают никакого внимания на постоянно изменяемые проекты городского правительства.

Всё это изменяемые величины, а не константы.

В отличие от "пианино" и "пальто" такие слова как "машина", "ковёр" и "контракт" - всё это изменяемые по падежам слова.

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    Maybe, the participles mean "the ones which are being changed" (your example #1), and the adjectives mean "the ones that can be changed" (your examples #2 and #3)?
    – Yellow Sky
    Jan 17 '15 at 13:06
  • @YellowSky - I think you've nailed it! Please, re-write your reply as an answer.
    – brilliant
    Jan 17 '15 at 13:10
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As far as I know, the participles mean "the ones which are being changed" (your example #1), and the adjectives mean "the ones that can be changed" (your examples #2 and #3). Anyhow, it is very difficult even for the native speakers of Russian to distinguish between the participles and the adjectives.

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  • What about любимый?
    – jwalker
    Jan 19 '15 at 11:43
  • @jwalker - And what about любимый? According to its meaning in a particular sentence, it can be either a participle or an adjective.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jan 19 '15 at 12:16
  • But as an adjective it doesn't mean the one that can be loved. I agree the "can" meaning is often valid, but it doesn't seem to be definitive.
    – jwalker
    Jan 19 '15 at 13:43
  • @jwalker - Ah, I see your point. My answer refers only to the 3 examples of the OP.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jan 19 '15 at 17:30
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A participle is a form of a verb that describes change over time. An adjective describes a more permanent attribute.

What makes example #1 постоянно изменяемые different from the other two is that it describes a change over time.

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