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    #1

    In "He looked at the picture" is [I]look[/I] being used as a copular verb?

    In the sentence "He looked at the picture" is look being used as a copular verb?

    I originally thought the answer must be no, but then I looked at it this way. As readers of A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language will know Quirk et al. divide clauses into seven types ( section 2.16). The two types I'm interested in are SVO (subject+verb+object) and SVA (subject+verb+adverbial). They make it clear that "A" refers to an obligatory adverbial. In the same section they state that copular verbs are followed by a subject complement or an adverbial and occur in types SVC and SVA.

    Now in section 8.32, "He looked at the picture" is analysed in two ways. In one, look at is regarded as a transitive verb with the picture as a direct object (clause type SVO); in the other, at the picture is regarded as an obligatory adjunct (clause type SVA - an adjunct is a type of adverbial of course). So if the verb in an SVA type is a copular verb and if one analysis of "He looked at the picture" is SVA, then look must be a copular verb in this case. If it isn't, will someone please tell me where I'm going wrong?

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    #2

    Re: In "He looked at the picture" is [I]look[/I] being used as a copular verb?

    There is no question of 'look' being a copular verb in this sentence. If 'look' is considered to be an intransitive verb, the preposition phrase may be regarded as an obligatory adjunct. That does nor make 'look' copular.

    "In the same section they state that copular verbs are followed by a subject complement or an adverbial and occur in types SVC and SVA." That is not to say that all verbs that function in this way are copular verbs.

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    #3

    Re: In "He looked at the picture" is [I]look[/I] being used as a copular verb?

    Thanks very much for your reply.

    [QUOTE=fivejedjon;806887
    "In the same section they state that copular verbs are followed by a subject complement or an adverbial and occur in types SVC and SVA." That is not to say that all verbs that function in this way are copular verbs.[/QUOTE]

    Yes, I follow your logic, but it so happens that many of the examples of SVA in Quirk are copular verbs and indeed section 2.22 states: "Further, we may extend the concept of "copular relationship" to the relation between subject and adverbial in SVA clauses..."

    Aside from the obvious copular verbs (like be, become, seem. turn into), I sometimes find it difficult to decide on the marginal cases

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    #4

    Re: In "He looked at the picture" is [I]look[/I] being used as a copular verb?

    Crudely put, if you can replace 'looks' by 'seems', it's probably copular,

    She looks happy = she seems happy.
    She looks at the picture = She seems at the picture. X


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