"He seems very tense today."
Some experts say that "today" modifies the whole sentence; other experts say that "today" modifies the verb "seems."
What do you say. And why?
Good morning, Jasmin.
(1) Thank you for your reply.
(2) Since you are in the field of law, I was a bit astounded by your question. Lawyers, of course, are interested in concise meanings.
(3) I have no examples at hand, but I imagine that it is possible that some court rulings have depended on such "minor" issues.
(4) Personally, I feel it IS important to know what modifies what, but I am not articulate enough to express the reason. Perhaps someone else will come to my rescue.
Thank you again for your reply. Have a nice day!
In this sentence ‘He seems very tense today’, today modifies the whole sentence because you can not place it before the verb. By end placement, it is comment on the sentence in the sense that normally he does not appear to be tense but there is some problem with him today.
Good morning, Teacher Sarat.
(1) Thank you very much for your very kind and informative answer.
(2) Many books and websites agree with you.
(3) Thank you for explaining it in such detail, too.
(4) I have also heard from some people that it modifies the verb.
(a) I have always had trouble with an adverb modifying a linking verb
such as "seems."
(i) There seems to be no "definitive" answer to the question: Can adverbs
modify linking verbs? If not, then the adverb must modify the whole
(5) Thanks again. I shall add your comments to my notes.
Have a nice day!
You only seem like more of a nice guy.
The plant grew quickly. ("Quickly" describes the manner in which it grows. In this sentence, "to grow" is not being used as a linking verb.)
Here's something to consider:
A linking verb followed by an infinitive can take an adverb either before or after it.
She grew slowly to love him. She slowly grew to love him.
(slowly modifies the linking verb ‘grew’?)
The ghost suddenly seemed to disappear.
He liked mostly just to laze about.
The children initially appeared to be asleep.
We urgently tried to resuscitate him.
I would say that 'today' modifies the whole sentence so for you to find out another meaning. Accordingly, it would infer that the other days - except that one - he may not be very tense. And it could modify the verb 'seem' at the same time because they at the moment consider him like that but they do not know how he is really usually
He is very tense => the statement is sure
He seems very tense => likely
He seems very tense today => unsure he is always very tense. Maybe he is quirky
Not a teacher at all
Last edited by philadelphia; 06-Jun-2010 at 17:42.