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  1. #1
    notmyname216 is offline Junior Member
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    Default no verb in sentence

    Where is the predicate in a sentence that has no verb in the sentence?

    Unfortunately I can not find the example on the Internet that demonstrated this.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: no verb in sentence

    Interesting. Hmm. Grammar or Logic?

    I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but it's worth the look. Try here: http://isu.indstate.edu/writing/hand...SETIII16P.html

  3. #3
    notmyname216 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: no verb in sentence

    Casiopea thank you for your response. Unfortunately, that was not what I was looking for. Luckly I finally found it on the internet. Here is the site http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langu...es/000886.html

    Here is a example of a sentence that contains no verbs:

    Their mission: an effort at construction of fifty words of coherent prose with never a verb; the point: only those in possession of enough grammatical knowledge for verb identification capable of success.

    So is the above sentence truly a sentence?
    If it is where is the predicate?

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    Default Re: no verb in sentence

    Good find!

    Quote Originally Posted by notmyname216
    Here is a example of a sentence that contains no verbs:

    Their mission: an effort at construction of fifty words of coherent prose with never a verb; the point: only those in possession of enough grammatical knowledge for verb identification capable of success.

    So is the above sentence truly a sentence?
    If it is where is the predicate?
    Well, to answer your first question, it depends on how 'sentence' is defined. If 'sentence' is defined as a complete thought, a meaningful utterance, then, yes, "Their mission: an effort . . . ; . . . ." is a 'sentence'. If, however, we define 'sentence' as subject + predicate, where 'predicate' refers to the verb plus its baggage, then there're two arguments: one for, one against.

    Against: if there isn't a verb, it's not a 'sentence'.
    For: the colon (:) functions as a substantive (i.e., substitute) predicate. It's synonymous with 'is this, . . .',

    Their mission is this, an effort at . . . ~ Their mission: an effort at . . .

    That's how I would answer your second question.

    What are your thoughts on this topic?

  5. #5
    notmyname216 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: no verb in sentence

    Well I was taught that all sentences have a verb. I guess if a ":" is considered to be the verb then it is a sentence. It does cause a interesting problem for diagramming that sentence. So would the ":" be considered to be a auxiliary verb?

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    Default Re: no verb in sentence

    Well, we lucked in with our examples, because we're dealing with an implied copula construct. In syntax, the norm is to add in nodes for omitted/missing words; for example, the utterance in [a] (note the full stop) is short for [b].

    [a] Interesting question.
    [b] That is an interesting question.

    The first utterance doesn't have a verb that we can see or hear, but it's there. It's implied - it's underlying. If I were to diagram [a], I'd use a copular structure (i.e., IP = NP (subject), VP (predicate)) wherein both the N of NP and the V of VP are either left null or filled with 'That' and 'is', respectively.

    Note, it's the structure that's important, not the words that sit under the nodes. As long as you built the nodes, there shouldn't be a problem.

    Now consider our example below.

    [c] Their mission: an effort . . . .
    [d] Their mission is an effort.

    If I were diagramming [c], I'd use a copluar structure: V of VP would be either null or filled with copluar BE.

    Note, the words aren't that important; it's the structure that carries meaning. As long as the V node is there, life is good.

    If a student studying syntax asked me where the predicate was in [a] and [c], I'd say,"It's there; It's underlying." If the same student asked me how to deal with the colon, I'd mention that colons, periods, apostrophes, and so on are matter of punctuation, not syntax.

    In syntax, punctuation doesn't fit into the framework, so why even go there? A copular verb (e.g., is, are) can indeed be replaced by a colon,

    The list is three apples, two bananas, etc.
    The list: three apples, two bananas, etc. (a form of substitution)

    but only in Writing. When it comes to Syntax, it's the (IP) structure that's important. In other words, if the framework you're working within states that every "sentence" has a predicate, and you come across an utterance that's meaningful, comprehensible, but lacks a verb, then your only "out" is to assume that the verb in question is covert, underlying, and didn't make it to the surface level.

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