Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    jayjay5531 is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like

    Is there REALLY such thing as an adverbial prep phrase that modifies a trans. verb?!

    Okay, that was a stupid way to phrase my question. Obviously there are examples of sentences containing adverbial prepositional phrases that undoubtedly modify the transitive verb. For example:

    1.) "I ate lunch in the cafeteria."

    However, it seems that oftentimes we gloss over a prepositional phrase as adverbial (modifying the verb) when it's in fact adjectival or even nounal in nature.

    2.) "I put the tray below the counter."

    Maybe "below the counter" modifies the verb "put." However, it seems to me that the prepositional phrase "below the counter" is the objective complement of "tray". It's a description of the tray after the act of the "putting" is complete.

    IMHO "below the counter" doesn't modify "put" because it isn't describing where the "putting" occurred (if anything, we can assuming the act of "putting" occurred in the area surrounding the counter).

    Compare Sentence 1 with Sentence 2. They both have prepositional phrases that answer the question "Where?". However, in sentence one, it's clearly modifying "ate" because it describes where the action of the verb took place. While Sentence 2's prepositional phrase also answers "where", it's radically different. "below the counter" complements the object "tray", describing its state after the action of the verb has occurred.

    Now that I put the tray below the counter:

    "The tray is below the counter".

    Even more clearly here, "is" is the linking verb and "below the counter" is the predicate adjective, describing the tray. Whether we say "The tray is below the counter", or "The tray is where it should be", or "The tray is properly stowed" - in all cases, we're looking at nounals/adjectivals that complement the subject.

    The more I think about it, the more the idea that adverbs answer the question "Where?" seems to fall apart! Certainly any prepositional phrase following a linking verb is a subjective complement. But I am realizing that in many or even most cases, seemingly adverbial prepositional phrases (answering "where" or "how") that follow a direct object are actually objective complements of the direct object.


    I don't even know if any of that made sense, or if it was already obvious, or if it's insignificant, or if I'm totally wrong. What are your thoughts?


    JJ

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,627
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is there REALLY such thing as an adverbial prep phrase that modifies a trans. ver

    Can't they be seen as follows:

    I ate what +where
    I put what + where

    The difference is that the second requires the where part.

  3. #3
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,507
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is there REALLY such thing as an adverbial prep phrase that modifies a trans. ver

    I think you're getting a little confused here. The phrase 'below the counter' in

    [1] I put the tray below the counter.

    is adverbial, but it complements, rather than modifies, the VP - that is, it is an obligatory, and not an optional, clause-element. (The verb 'put' is somewhat unusual in that it requires both a direct object and an adverbial complement.)

    The same prepositional phrase could indeed be adjectival, e.g. in

    [2] The tray below the counter needs wiping.

    where it postmodifies the noun 'tray' (specifiying to which tray we are referring), but I trust that you can see the massive difference between [1] and [2]!

    (P.S. The term is nominal, not *nounal)

Similar Threads

  1. A participle phrase as an adverbial phrase with the subject IT.
    By hoangkha in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 15-Mar-2012, 12:39
  2. Adverbial Phrase or Adjective Phrase?
    By grammarian77 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 18-Feb-2010, 01:49
  3. [Grammar] prepositional phrase or adverbial phrase
    By sash2008 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Nov-2008, 18:43
  4. Adverbial Phrase, Noun Phrase, Verb Phrase
    By novi_83 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29-Jun-2008, 18:46
  5. What does the prep phrase modify?
    By sky753 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16-Jun-2008, 01:06

Posting Permissions

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