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  1. Junior Member
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    Subject Complement?

    Hi, teachers.

    I'm not a linguist and I don't like to talk about grammar jargon, but I have to ask you this. sorry.

    Take a quick look at the following 4 sentences.

    1. Mira answered smiling at me.
    2. We sat watching TV.
    3. The boy walked smiling.
    4. John lay listening to music in his room.

    In the sentences above, are those underlined subject complements?
    I have encountered a book explaining them as subject complements.
    Please help. Thank you.

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    Re: Subject Complement?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Giddyman:

    I'm not a linguist, either, but I DO love to talk about grammar jargon!

    I shall let more qualified people than I (am) answer your questions. My contribution to your thread consists of two examples of participles being used as subjective complements (at least, according to that one book):

    1. "The girl came running."
    2. "That fellow kept clenching his fists."

    -- House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (1931 and 1950).

    Personally, I like that analysis, and that is how I diagram such sentences. But there is another analysis that some books prefer.

    Many, many years ago, the sentence might have been expressed as "The girl came a-running." "A" is a preposition meaning "on." The word "running" then was a gerund. People then started to drop the "a" and just said "The girl came running." So some grammarians prefer to still label "running" a gerund that modifies the verb "came."

    Who is "right"? Of course, I do not know.

    The book that gave that explanation says this: "[0]ften there is more than one good explanation for a construction in English grammar."

    That book is Pence & Emery's A Grammar of Present-Day English (1963).
    Last edited by TheParser; 25-Aug-2015 at 12:48.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Complement?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "[0]ften there is more than one good explanation for a construction in English grammar."
    Very true.

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