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    #1

    Function of phrases; Verb types

    "The Olympics is going on right now."


    One of the activities in an English Structure book that I have been reading is to identify the functions of ohrases and the verb type in sentences.

    If I am going to answer this, 'is' would be a copula verb. But as far as I know what follows a copula verb is a subject complement. I am really confused because subject complement gives a role of attribute to a subject, either in the form of noun or adjective phrase (or prepositional phrase also?). However, in this sentence what follows is 'going on'. According to the book, 'going on' is a phrasal verb. Now what I have understood about phrasal verbs is that you can pronominalize the object and put it in between the verb and its particle. But if I do that, it wouldn't be right because I don't think there is a DO here. So it really gives me a hard time to understand what are: 'is' and 'going on' in this sentence.

    I do hope you can help me with this. It would really mean a lot. Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Function of phrases; Verb types

    The Olympics are going on right now.

    "The Olympics" is short for "the Olympic Games". It is a plural-only non-count noun, so it takes a plural verb-form, as I’ve shown.

    It is not a copular clause, but a different construction altogether. This is not copula "be", but the progressive auxiliary verb "be" followed by the present participle verb "going" to form the progressive aspect verb phrase: "are going on right now”; compare "Ed is nice / a teacher" with copula "be" and the predicative complements "nice” and "a teacher".

    "Going on" is a verbal idiom consisting of the verb "going" + the preposition "on", where the meaning is "occurring" or "taking place". But it is only "going" that is a verb; "on" is a separate constituent, a preposition.

    "On" is not a particle here. Particles are complements that can freely come between the verb and its direct object. But there is no direct object here, so "on" does not qualify as a particle. Compare "Put on the radio" ~ "Put the radio on"where "on" is a particle because it can be positioned between the verb "put" and its object "the radio".
    Last edited by PaulMatthews; 02-Mar-2017 at 12:03.

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    #3

    Re: Function of phrases; Verb types

    Good evening, Sir Paul. Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it. I didn't expect to receive one this fast.

    I have more questions/clarifications, though. Please bear with me.
    :)

    1. Can't 'Olympics' be considered as a collective noun and therefore requires a singular verb?
    2. For a sentence to be considered having a copular clause, there should only be ONE verb which is the 'be' and nothing else?
    3. In the sentence I have provided in my first query, 'going on' is the main verb supported by the aux 'are' for tense purposes?
    4. I did a research on verbal idioms, but the websites I'd been to tell me that verbal idiom and phrasal verb are the same. Because the individual words in the two lose their individual meanings. So I just want to clarify... It becomes a phrasal verb ONLY if you can put the object in between the verb and its particle? Otherwise, it's a verbal idiom?

    Thanks a lot. I hope you can help me with this. It's good for native speakers since they do not really need to learn these things since they already know about them as they use them in their conversations. Bless you!

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