Grammar Exchange
Predicate Adjective

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October 20, 2004, 10:39 PM
Predicate Adjective
Which of the following sentences contains an italicized word that's used as a predicate adjective?

1.Jerry looks atthe map.
2.Jerry looks ill today.
3.Jerry looks intothe microscope.
4.Jerry looks disdainfully at the pile of laundry.
October 21, 2004, 04:26 AM
Chuncan Feng
A so-called predicate adjective typically functions as subject (or object) complement. Technically, a predicate adjective may mean an adjective that functions frequently or only as subject (or object) complement.

1. A SVO sentence. "Look at" is treated like a single transitive verb.

2. A SVC sentence. "Ill" is a predicate adjective.

3. A SVO sentence. "Look into" is treated like a single transitive verb.

4. A SVO sentence. "Look at" is treated like a single transitive verb.

The last, 4th sentence looks different ("Different" here is a predicate adjective") from the 1st in that "disdainfully" comes between "look" and "at". "Disdainfully" is an adverbial modifying the verb phrase "look at".

Chuncan Feng

Chuncan Feng

Chair of English Department, College of English
Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages
Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province 312000, China


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August 17, 2006, 07:54 PM
Jean McCormick
I am new ...just learning my way around...I would like to know...Is " Jerry looks ill today" used as a predicate adjective or not???

August 17, 2006, 09:39 PM
<Grammar Exchange 2>
In the sentence "Jerry looks ill today,"

..."ill" is a predicate adjective. It modifies the grammatical subject, "Jerry."

In traditional grammar terms, "ill," which follows the verb "looks," is a predicate adjective. In modern terms, "ill" is a subject complement. More specifically, it's an adjective complement.

There are three kinds of subject complement:

"”John is a computer scientist (predicate noun/noun complement)

"”The guest of honor is here (predicate adverb/adverb complement)

"”Penelope became very quiet (predicate adjective/adjective complement)

Subject complements say something about the grammatical subject, following verbs such as BE, LOOK, SEEM, and BECOME.

August 20, 2006, 10:45 PM
Thank you very much.
Very helpful to me.