I'm happy about the wedding. - adverbial and adjectival prepositions

freijorn

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Hello everyone! I think this is an interesting topic. As I know, there are certain questions for the adverbs and adjectives (How, where, when, why, under what condition, in what way, and to what extend. - Which one, what kind, how much, how many, whose.) Moreover, the prepositional phrases can be adjectival and adverbial so, we can understand the type of used prepositional phrase by asking these questions. Nevertheless, there are some cases that these questions don't work for identifying the type of the used prepositional phrase. Asking a verb or an adjective the questions "about what", "whom", or "what" seems odd to me. My question is how can we categorise the prepositional phrases below.
Are they adverbial or adjectival?

With Adjectives - Linking verbs
I'm happy about the wedding. (Why are you happy? - Are you happy about what?)
I'm afraid of spiders. (What are you afraid of)
The child was eager for the Christmas. (What was he eager for? - Why was he eager?)

With Verbs - Action verbs
I read about the animals. (about what-whom?)
I was tormented by insects. (What-who tormented you?)
I had to choose between orange and red. (What you had to choose between?)
 
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jutfrank

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prepositional phrases can be adjectival and adverbial ...

That's right.

so, we can understand the type of preposition by asking these questions.

No, that's not right. It is the prepositional phrases that can be either adjectival or adverbial, not the prepositions themselves. There are no grammatical 'types' of preposition.

My question is how can we categorise the prepositions below.
Are they adverbial or adjectival?

I assume you're talking about the preposition phrases, not the prepositions. It isn't clear to me in what way you wish to categorise these preposition phrases. Are you wondering about meaning? Or is your question in some way related to grammar?

Have a look at this explanation, which will hopefully straighten things out for you: https://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/prepositional_phrase.htm
 

freijorn

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I revised my question accordingly. It’s about the grammatical categorisation of the prepositional phrases. Prepositional phrases in my examples doesn’t answer classic questions of adverbs and adjectives. I have two ideas. The idea one; “They don’t answer because they don’t have any type. They don’t describe anything. They are mere complements, so we can’t name them as adjectival or adverbial.” The idea two; “Otherwise and they can be categorised.”
 
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jutfrank

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Follow idea one. Let's look at the first of your examples.

I am happy about the wedding.

The PP about the wedding is the complement of the adjective happy, so you can call it an adjective complement.
 

freijorn

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My instincts say that we can ask the question "why are you happy?" for the sentence "I am happy about the wedding." and receive an answer such as "I'm happy because of the marriage." Moreover, It looks like, It's answering the classic adverb question "why", and modifies the adjective happy like an adverbial prepositional phrase. Also, my instincts say the same pattern could be applied to the sentence “He looks funny with that wool hat on his head.“ Though, this thinking isn't correct.


Let's take linking verbs as our subject. Please look at these sentences, "He felt like a man of the mafia.", "He is a man with a very big heart", and "He felt like a man from Mars." (Source: After the Funeral: F.W. Watt - 2014, page 96.) If you ask "which man?" or "what kind of man?" to these phrases, you'll receive adjectival prepositional phrases.

Now, I want to share a link.
https://www.thefreedictionary.com/linking-verbs.htm#With prepositional phrases

It says, "A linking verb can also be followed by a prepositional phrase that acts as an adjective to describe the subject. These usually describe the subject’s location, though they can be used to provide other descriptions as well. For example:

  • “John is in the other room.” (John is physically located in the other room.)
  • “I will be away from the office this week.” (I will not be present in the office this week.)
  • “They are against this plan.” (They do not agree with or support this plan.)"

Another link about linking verbs and prepositional phrases.
https://www.englishgrammar101.com/module-7/prepositions/lesson-4/adjective-prepositional-phrases

It says, "Adjective prepositional phrases can also follow linking verbs; however, this is not very common.
You seem \under the weather. (Under the weather describes you, not how you seem.)
More than one adjective phrase can modify the same noun."


As you can see, there is a difference between the examples in my first and second paragraph. The prepositional phrase examples in my first paragraph follow adjectives and the prepositional phrases in the second paragraph follow the verbs. Except the sentence "He is a man with a very big heart". The prepositional phrase in this sentence follows the noun phrase "a man". Therefore, I assume in linking verbs, If a prepositional phrase comes after the verb, It's an adjectival prepositional phrase and If a prepositional phrase comes after a noun or an adjective, It is a complement. Moreover, according to my assumption the analysis of the sentences "This is up to him" and "She is beautiful as the morning rising" seems valid.

Here is more examples. The sentence "This is up to him" is followed by an adjectival prepositional phrase and the sentence "She is beautiful as morning rising" is followed by complement prepositional phrase. Also, in the sentence "He smells of flowers and ozone" the verb smell is used as a linking verb and It’s prepositional phrase is an adjectival prepositional phrase.


Let's delve a little bit deeper. Let's combine adverbs with linking verbs. Also, I've learned that when an preposition is left without it's object, It is considered as an adverb.
Look at these sentences.
"She is not up yet."
"He is home."
“I’m not there yet”
"I'm back."
We can label these adverbs as complements. Therefore, my assumption seems correct to me but I'm not sure. Are my statements and assumption correct?
 
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freijorn

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Dear teachers, I can't be sure about my logic. I would greatly appreciate any guidance from you. I can't make any conclusion.
 

jutfrank

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Please ask just one specific question at a time, freijorn.
 

freijorn

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I am happy about the wedding.

The PP about the wedding is the complement of the adjective happy, so you can call it an adjective complement.

Unlike my first linking verb sentence's S+V+Adjective+Prepositional phrase structure, If a linking verb sentence takes a prepositional phrase right after It's verb, does it make this prepositional phrase an adjectival prepositional phrase instead of a mere complement?

Please consider this sentence: "I feel like a lion"
 

jutfrank

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The PP like a lion in your sentence is a predicative complement.

I feel like a lion.
I feel good.


Both bolded phrases function as complements of the verb feel.
 

freijorn

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Dear teacher, I think the sentence "He is a boy from the England." has a difference compared to my first example sentence (I am happy about the wedding.) The prepositional phrase "from the England." answers the question "which boy?" (The boy from the England.) just like an adjectival prepositional phrase. Thus, I'm a little confused. Is this prepositional phrase a modifier or a complement?
 
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jutfrank

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First of all, your sentence is incorrect. The PP you mean is from England. Don't use a definite article before place names.

Secondly, the NP doesn't answer the question 'Which boy?'

Thirdly, I don't think your sentence works very well as a good example, but I think you were trying to use the PP as a modifier, with a meaning equivalent to He's an English boy. Be careful about which sentences you use to work with. I suggest you use only examples made up by teachers and native speakers.
 

freijorn

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Yes I was trying to use PP as a modifier in a linking verb sentence. Does this sentence have a difference?

"It is a car with two headlamps."
 
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jutfrank

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That's better. Yes, the PP with two headlamps is a noun phrase modifier.

(I trust that any member with better analytic skills than I will not hesitate to correct me!)
 

freijorn

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Thank you my teacher. I’ve read about the difference between the modifiers and the complements.

One of the sources say, “Both complements and modifiers add to the meaning of a sentence. However, a complement is necessary to complete a sentence; a modifier is not.”

This definition made me confused. In the first linking verb example “I’m happy about the wedding.” the phrase “about the wedding” is a complement. However, when we remove this phrase, the sentence “I’m happy.” makes sense by itself. The same situation is valid for the sentence “He is a boy from England.

On the contrary, in the sentence “It is a car with two headlamps.” the phrase “with two headlamps” is a modifier, but when the phrase “with two headlamps” is removed, the sentence “It is a car.” makes sense by itself. How can I make distinction between modifiers and complements in the linking verbs?
 
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jutfrank

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It isn't at all easy sometimes to distinguish complements from modifiers. Both contribute to meaning, but in different ways.

This is how I understand things as somebody with very little skill in syntactic analysis:

In the sentence I'm happy about the wedding, this particular meaning of the verb happy requires that there be something for the speaker's happiness to be directed at. Another way to say this is that the predicate happy in this sentence requires two logical arguments to make sense: somebody to experience happiness and something to elicit the experience.

If the PP were removed to render I'm happy, the predicate happy would have a different meaning. In this case, there need only be somebody—an experiencer, in a general state of happiness. In other words, there is only one logical argument required.

The sense of 'directedness' I mention above concerning the original sentence might be clearer if the word happy were replaced with glad:

I'm glad about the wedding.

If you now remove the PP to render I'm glad, I hope it will be easier for you to ask 'About what? There must be something to be glad about'. It is this directedness that requires the meaning of glad to be completed.
 

freijorn

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I thank you so much. I think, for a non-native speaker, It is very difficult to make this distinction.
 
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freijorn

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Dear teacher, I have another question about this topic. As I understand, we can modify prepositional phrases in linking verb sentences. I think, the sentence "It is in a glass of champagne." is an example for modifying a prepositional phrase in a copula verb sentence. My question is, can we complement to a prepositional phrase? My question isn't about the prepositional complements. It's about complementing the prepositional phrases.
 

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freijorn, you have trouble with basic stuff, and in my humble opinion you shouldn't be teaching us grammar.

Your posts need to be shorter.
 

Rover_KE

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I think, for a non-native speaker, It is very difficult to make this distinction.
No offence, freijorn, but 99.99% (probably more) of native English-speakers spend entire lifetimes without ever finding it necessary to make this distinction.
 

5jj

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No offence, freijorn, but 99.99% (probably more) of native English-speakers spend entire lifetimes without ever finding it necessary to make this distinction.
And the 0.01% who study this area of grammar professionally can't agree among themselves exactly what labels to use.
 
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