Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 41
  1. #1
    indonesia's Avatar
    indonesia is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Indonesia
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    111
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    I have just been reading a new grammar book and it states that a good rule of thumb is that the verb 'to be' never takes an object, it is always a subject complement.
    I have wrote a few sentences on a piece of paper, trying to find a few exceptions, but no luck so far.
    Can any of you good people give me some exceptions where the verb 'to be' takes an object.

  2. #2
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    966
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    Quote Originally Posted by indonesia View Post
    I have just been reading a new grammar book and it states that a good rule of thumb is that the verb 'to be' never takes an object, it is always a subject complement.
    I have wrote a few sentences on a piece of paper, trying to find a few exceptions, but no luck so far.
    Can any of you good people give me some exceptions where the verb 'to be' takes an object.
    Linking verbs are complemented by either a predicate adjunct (obligatory adverbial) or a subject complement (pred. nom; pred. adj). They never occur in patterns other than SVC and SVA.
    Last edited by Kondorosi; 15-Jan-2010 at 07:29.

  3. #3
    mara_ce's Avatar
    mara_ce is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,066
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    I don’t think you will find an exception because the verb ‘to be’ is an intransitive verb of incomplete predication. It is followed by an obligatory element: the subjective complement that tells us something about the subject.

    Sugar is sweet. (an essence)
    John is tired. (an accident or temporary state)
    This is a book. (a class of objects)
    That is John. (identity)
    He is in the room. (a location)

    These intransitive verbs of incomplete predication are also called copular or linking verbs.
    e.g. be, seem, look, turn, become, etc.

  4. #4
    mxreader is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kondorosi View Post
    Linking verbs are complemented by either a predicate adjunct (obligatory adverbial) or a ....
    What's your example for this? Give us a few examples if you can please.

  5. #5
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    966
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    Quote Originally Posted by mxreader View Post
    What's your example for this? Give us a few examples if you can please.
    He is in the kitchen. = SVA; A = predicate adjunct or obligatory adverbial (associates an attribute of location with S)
    They married young. =? SVA; =? SV
    He feels under the weather. =? SVA; =? SVC (figurative adaptation of the prep. meaning)
    He is Peter. -- SVC, (C = complement; predicate nominative)
    He is nice. -- SVC, (C = complement; predicate adjective)

    Quote Originally Posted by indonesia View Post
    I have just been reading a new grammar book and it states that a good rule of thumb is that the verb 'to be' never takes an object.
    That is correct. No exceptions. 'to be' either functions as an aspect auxiliary in a verb phrase whose main verb, but not the aspect auxiliary itself, may take an object, or it functions as a main verb in a copulative verb structure. Linking verbs, aka coplula verbs, never occur in SV (V = intransitive verb), SVO (V = monotransitive verb), SVOA (V = complex transitive verb), SVOC (V = complex transitive verb), or SVOO (V = ditransitive verb) patterns.
    That there is one and only one obligatory argument governed by the verb and that that is not an object are necessary and sufficient criteria for a verb to be a linking verb. These two criteria make a linking verb a linking verb. If there is an object in the sentence, the verb, by definition, is a linking verb no more.

    SVC, SVA (V = linking verb)
    Last edited by Kondorosi; 15-Jan-2010 at 08:09.

  6. #6
    mara_ce's Avatar
    mara_ce is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,066
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    I'm surprised how things/names have changed!

    I learned that a subjective complement can be called a predicative as well. The advervials are optional.
    The label predicative comes from the fact that we are predicating something about the subject.

    We can predicate a location:
    He is in the room.

    I've been in the garden all the time since lunch.

    in the garden (subjective complement)
    all the time (adverbial)
    since lunch (adverbial)

  7. #7
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    966
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    Quote Originally Posted by mara_ce View Post
    The advervials are optional.
    Hi, I am not sure I understand you here. Would you elaborate, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by mara_ce View Post

    We can predicate a location:
    He is in the room.

    I've been in the garden all the time since lunch.

    in the garden (subjective complement)
    all the time (adverbial)
    since lunch (adverbial)
    According to Quirk in CGEL (1985), in the garden is not a complement, but an obligatory adverbial, an obligatory predicate adjunct (SVA). With copula verbs, the adverbial is always obligatory. On the other hand, predicate adjuncts can be obligatory or optional with verbs other than CopV.

    Compare:

    She put the letter on the kitchen table. = SVOA
    She put the letter on the kitchen table.
    She found the letter on the kitchen table. = SVO
    She found the letter on the kitchen table. = SVO

    I've been in the garden all the time since lunch.

    in the garden (subjective complement)
    all the time (adverbial)
    since lunch (adverbial)
    'in the garden' is an adverbial. It is an adjunct of space which is obligatorily present in the sentence. It is the A in your SVA sentence and so enters the valency pattern of the copula verb 'have been'.

    However, 'nice' in 'He is nice' is a C, a predicate adjective, in SVC, and 'Peter' in 'He is Peter' is a C in SVC, a predicate nominative. Subject complement is a grammatical term that includes predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives as its two subtypes.

    a. all the time (adverbial) and optional
    b. since lunch (adverbial) and optional

    These two optional adverbials above (a. and b.) are not included in the valency pattern of the copula verb 'have been'.
    Last edited by Kondorosi; 15-Jan-2010 at 18:00.

  8. #8
    mara_ce's Avatar
    mara_ce is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,066
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    Hi Kondorosi,

    It's evident that we are following different books. In my case, my grammar notes from university.
    I've found an analysis by Quirk et al. It says that there are advervials that are obligatory. They are equivalent to advervials in meaning (e.g. in answering the question 'Where?') even though they are simillar to complements in acting as obligatory elements following the verb.

    We are both right.

    In the sentence:
    I've been in the garden all the time since lunch.

    in the garden: (can be considered as a subjective complement or as an obligatory adverbial)

  9. #9
    mxreader is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    173
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kondorosi View Post
    He is in the kitchen. = SVA; A = predicate adjunct or obligatory adverbial (associates an attribute of location with S)
    They married young. =? SVA; =? SV
    He feels under the weather. =? SVA; =? SVC (figurative adaptation of the prep. meaning)
    He is Peter. -- SVC, (C = complement; predicate nominative)
    He is nice. -- SVC, (C = complement; predicate adjective)
    Kondorosi, do you have a C_locative in this scheme? If so, please compare (explain differences) with the predicate adjunct.

  10. #10
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    966
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Can the verb 'to be' take an object?

    Quote Originally Posted by mxreader View Post
    Kondorosi, do you have a C_locative in this scheme? If so, please compare (explain differences) with the predicate adjunct.
    What you call a C locative Quirk calls an obligatory adverbial (obligatory predicate adjunct). What you call a C locative is denoted by 'A' in valency patterns in his "Blue Bible".
    CGEL differentiates between complements and obligatory adverbials in CopV complementation; however, it states that some obligatory adverbs can function as complements (The game is over (= complete). = SVC). It makes no mention of C_locatives, though. Terminology.

    He was in the kitchen. -- SVA (A = obligatory adverbial)
    He was under the weather. SV(C?A?)

    The distinction between C and A are often not clear-cut. In 'He was under the weather,' the figurative adaptation of the prepositional phrase semantically is similar to an AP functioning as a C. Furthermore, there are also syntactic signs that deepen the indeterminacy.

    ?He was [young] and [in the kitchen].
    * He seemed [young] and [in the kitchen].
    * It was under the weather that he felt.
    He was [young] and [under the weather].

    Last edited by Kondorosi; 16-Jan-2010 at 05:25.

Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. difference between complement and object
    By Grace-Ellen in forum Linguistics
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 14-Jun-2008, 08:02
  2. Transitive vs. Intransitive Verb Question
    By erika in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 01-Oct-2004, 17:18
  3. noun phrases
    By sting in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Aug-2004, 21:52
  4. Subject of a verb
    By Anonymous in forum Linguistics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 14-Oct-2003, 07:10

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •