He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

IsaacZ

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2013
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

Adjunct is another term for adverbial.

What about these ones?

So much writing out there in the world and who wants to read it?
Like any other person out there, I fall into habits, good and bad.
Just about every database out there has tools for doing this.
Nobody out there can get more from that group of players.
This seems to be one of the oldest cliches out there, but in my experience it works.

Please help analyse their functions. Thanks.
 

Phaedrus

Key Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

[1] There is a shark out there.
[2] I saw a shark out there.


In both cases "out there" is a locative adjunct.

In neither case is "a shark out there" a noun phrase, a constituent. In [1] for example, the noun phase complement of "be" is "a shark".

In [1], "out there" can alternatively be analyzed as the complement of "is," assuming "There is a shark out there" derives from "A shark is out there."

On that analysis, the underlying constituent of which "a shark" and "out there" are components is the clause "A shark is out there."

In [2], "a shark out there" can be analyzed as a small clause complement of the perceptual verb "saw." On that analysis, it is a constituent.

In neither of these alternative analyses is "out there" an adjunct or adverbial.
 

PaulMatthews

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Great Britain
Current Location
Great Britain
Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

In [1], "out there" can alternatively be analyzed as the complement of "is," assuming "There is a shark out there" derives from "A shark is out there."

On that analysis, the underlying constituent of which "a shark" and "out there" are components is the clause "A shark is out there."

In [2], "a shark out there" can be analyzed as a small clause complement of the perceptual verb "saw." On that analysis, it is a constituent.

In neither of these alternative analyses is "out there" an adjunct or adverbial.


I disagree.

There is a shark out there.

I wouldn't say that "a shark out there" is a constituent.

The NP complement of "be" is just "a shark", and "out there" is a locative adjunct.

In examples like "I consider Ed quite incompetent", the underlined element is sometimes called a 'small clause' (or a verbless clause), but that's not the case in the OP's example, since locatives like "out there" are not assimilated to the predicatives.
 
Last edited:

PaulMatthews

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Great Britain
Current Location
Great Britain
Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

There is a shark out there.

Further to my previous post, I would ask what you mean when you say: "There is a shark out there" derives from "A shark is out there".

Surely the speaker does not go through some silent process in their mind of thinking "A shark is out there" and then converts that to the spoken "There is a shark out there".

What evidence could you have for such a claim?


I saw a shark out there.

Again, I would ask what basis there is for saying that "a shark out there" is a clause. It looks to me as though you're assuming a markedly different theoretical framework to mine.
 

Phaedrus

Key Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

There is a shark out there.

Further to my previous post, I would ask what you mean when you say: "There is a shark out there" derives from "A shark is out there".

Surely the speaker does not go through some silent process in their mind of thinking "A shark is out there" and then converts that to the spoken "There is a shark out there".

I mean "derives from" in the same sense that "Is there a shark out there?" may be said to derive from the string "there is a shark out there."

What evidence could you have for such a claim?

Subject-verb agreement is a good source of evidence. Dummy-"there" (or existential-"there") subjects do not determine subject-verb agreement. Compare:

(a1) There is a shark out there.
(a2) *[strike]There are a shark out there[/strike].

(b1) There are sharks out there.
(b2) *[strike]There is sharks out there[/strike].

Those sentences illustrate that dummy "there" can be followed by a verb in the singular or in the plural. The choice between the singular or the plural is constrained by the noun phrase that comes after the verb.

Therefore that noun phrase is the underlying subject. Sentences with dummy-"there" subjects derive from their dummy-less counterparts. In transformational-generative frameworks, the relevant operation has for at least half a century been known as There-Insertion.

I saw a shark out there.

Again, I would ask what basis there is for saying that "a shark out there" is a clause. It looks to me as though you're assuming a markedly different theoretical framework to mine.

I think reflexive pronouns offer a good enough basis. As you know, reflexive pronouns in their normal, non-emphatic use require co-reference with the subject of their most local clause. Consider, then, the following sentences:

(c1) I saw a shark out there by itself.
(c2) ?? I saw a shark out there by it.

(d1) I saw a shark out there by myself.
(d2) ?? I saw a shark out there by me.

It is obvious that (c1), with the reflexive pronoun "itself," is needed to indicate that what the speaker saw was the shark out there by itself, i.e., all alone. In sentence (c2), "it" does not refer to the shark, but to some contextually unspecified thing or animal next to which the shark was when the speaker saw it.

In (d1), the reflexive pronoun ("myself") refers back to the subject of the main clause. "I saw the shark out there by myself" indicates that the speaker saw the shark with his unaided eye. In sentence (d2), by contrast, "by me" has a different significance, one too weird for me to want to paraphrase.
 
Last edited:

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

Why do you say that it never caught on? It has been around for over 150 years.

It did not catch on in the UK.
 

Phaedrus

Key Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

I saw a shark out there.

Again, I would ask what basis there is for saying that "a shark out there" is a clause.

I'd like to add another argument, to augment the case from reflexives. "Out there" can be parsed in 3 ways in "I saw a shark out there."

(1) "Out there" may modify "saw," specifying where the speaker was when he saw the shark; the speaker was out there.
(2) "Out there" may modify "a shark," indicating that the speaker saw one shark that was out there (there was at least one other shark).
(3) "Out there" may relate to "a shark" without modifying it, indicating that what the speaker saw was a shark's being out there.

It is only on interpretation (3) -- which I think is the most likely interpretation of the sentence -- that "a shark out there" is clause-like.
 
Top