What is the function of the word "hostage" in the following sentences?

Her husband was held hostage by the hijackers.
The hijackers held her husband hostage.

Every dictionary I consulted only lists this word as a noun, but it doesn't seem to functioning as a noun in these sentences unless we say "as a hostage." Anyway, the expression is generally just "to hold hostage."


Last edited {1}
Original Post
"Hostage" is a noun.

In your first sentence, "hostage" functions as a subject complement; it is another noun which describes the subject "her husband."

In your second sentence, "hostage" functions as an object complement; it is another noun which describes the object "her husband."

There are a few other verbs which take this kind of construction. Sometimes they do appear with "as":

The man was considered a genius.
She was elected president.
Robert was chosen (as) their leader.
They are being held hostage.

Everybody considered him a genius.
The people elected her president.
They chose Robert (as) their leader.
They held him hostage for four hours.


Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.