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  1. #1
    barryashton is offline Newbie
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    Default Identifying the verb

    Consider the sentence:

    The gate swung shut behind him.

    Both 'swung' and 'shut' are capable of being verbs. In this case I take it that 'shut' is the main verb. What role does 'swung' play? As I understand the term 'swung shut' is not a phrasal verb, and 'swung' is not one of the common auxiliary verbs.

    Many thanks

    Barry

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    The verb is 'swung', the past tense of 'swing'.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    barryashton is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    Thanks for the reply 5jj. Modifying my question. What role does 'shut' play?

    Barry

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    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    The gate swings until it ends up in the shut position.It's an adjective.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  5. #5
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    Quote Originally Posted by barryashton View Post
    Consider the sentence:

    The gate swung shut behind him.

    Both 'swung' and 'shut' are capable of being verbs. In this case I take it that 'shut' is the main verb. What role does 'swung' play? As I understand the term 'swung shut' is not a phrasal verb, and 'swung' is not one of the common auxiliary verbs.

    Many thanks

    Barry
    I guess that I would call "shut" a past participle acting as a predicate adjective. For this to be the case, "swung" has to be considered a "linking verb". (These are American terms.) As in, "The gate became closed behind him."

  6. #6
    barryashton is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    Many thanks for your further help 5jj and Frank. I think what you, Frank, refer to as a linking verb I would call a copular verb. This now makes sense. As 'swung' is used as a copular verb it may be followed by, what I understand as, a (Subject) Complement Phrase. In this case the adjective 'shut'. This gives:

    Subject phrase: The gate (the - determiner, gate - noun)
    Verb phrase: swung (swung - copular verb)
    Complement phrase: (shut - adjective)
    Adverbial phrase: (behind - preposition, him - objective personal pronoun).

    If anybody disagrees with this analysis I would be delighted to hear from them.

    Barry

  7. #7
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    OK

    I don't understand the British terms very well.

    But I hate to see "the verb in the sentence". Verbs and simple predicates are different things. A verb is a part of speech. A simple predicate is a part of a sentence. Simple predicates will always and only be verbs, but verbs can do other things in sentences beside being simple predicates.

    Frank

  8. #8
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    "Swung" and "shut" are both verbs. The first is the past tense of the verb "to swing". The second is the past participle of the verb "to shut". Only "swung", however, is the simple predicate in this sentence.

  9. #9
    barryashton is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    Hello Frank

    I am at the beginning of a syntactic journey so I will undoubtedly make many mistakes. My apologies if I have misunderstood your arguments. In particular I am not sure what point you are making as nobody has used the term 'the verb in the sentence'. You say that both 'swung' and 'shut' are verbs. In my first post I said, I think more accurately, that both 'swung' and 'shut' are capable of being verbs. That is, capable of being verbs in the appropriate context.

    In the present context 'swung' acts as the verb while 'shut' does not. I am not familiar with the term simple predicate but it appears to be what I would call a verb phrase, verb element, or where the verb phrase (element) consists of a single word, the verb.

    Barry

  10. #10
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    Quote Originally Posted by barryashton View Post
    Hello Frank

    I am at the beginning of a syntactic journey so I will undoubtedly make many mistakes. My apologies if I have misunderstood your arguments. In particular I am not sure what point you are making as nobody has used the term 'the verb in the sentence'. You say that both 'swung' and 'shut' are verbs. In my first post I said, I think more accurately, that both 'swung' and 'shut' are capable of being verbs. That is, capable of being verbs in the appropriate context.

    In the present context 'swung' acts as the verb while 'shut' does not. I am not familiar with the term simple predicate but it appears to be what I would call a verb phrase, verb element, or where the verb phrase (element) consists of a single word, the verb.

    Barry
    Barry,
    This is partly because of the confusion of British vs American terms and partly because of the morphology vs syntax division.
    They are separate subjects.
    I can only use the American system. And by that system, "swung" and "shut" are both verbs (in morphological terms). If you look them up in a dictionary, I think it will say that they are verbs, or derived from verbs.
    When speak about how they act within the sentence, then you are in the realm of syntax. A dictionary cannot help you there because it would have to know the sentence.
    Why I say that they are both verbs is because the pass the test of changing with time -- Today I swing (shut), yesterday I swung (shut), I have swung (shut). Now, in the case of "shut", the word does not change. It is, however, still a verb.
    eg. "to shut", "shutting".
    I am not sure if this helps, but what is CRITICAL is that you do not mix syntax with morphology.
    Frank

    PA And, no, verb phrase is not the same as a simple predicate. I really think that you are failing to realize that syntax and morphology are separate things.

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