WAYS OF EXPRESSING THE PREDICATIVE

The predicative can be expressed by:

1. A noun in the common case or in the genitive case:

Miss Sedly’s father was a merchant. The face was Victoria's.

2. An adjective or an adjective phrase:

Ellen’s eyes grew angry. She was full of enthusiasm.

The man was difficult to convince.

Note: In English the verbs to smell, to sound, to look , to feel are link verbs which are followed by the predicatives which qualify the subject and can therefore be expressed only by adjectives ( though the predicatives are translated into Russians by means of adverbs).

The apples smell good. – Яблоки хорошо пахнут.

3. A pronoun:

It was he.

It’s me. (There is a growing tendency to use personal pronouns as predicatives in the objective case.)

The hat is mine. (In this function only the absolute form of the possessive pronoun is used.)

4. A numeral:

He was sixty last year. I’m the first.

5. An infinitive (or an infinitive phrase or construction):

His first thought was to run away. The only thing to do is for you to whip him.

6. A gerund (or a gerundial phrase or construction):

My hobby is dancing and his is collecting stamps.

7. A participle or a participial phrase:

The subject seemed strangely chosen.

Participle I seldom occurs in this function unless it has become an adjective.

That sounded quite distressing.

8. A prepositional phrase:

She is on our side.

9. A stative:

I was wide awake by this time.

10. An indivisible group of words:

It is nine o’clock already.

11. A clause:

That’s what has happened.

Semantic characteristics of the predicative

The three most typical semantic characteristics of a predicative are: identification, classification and characterisation.

1. An identifying predicative expresses equality between the notion expressed by the predicative and by the subject, or means that they are of the same rank or value. In this case the predicative and the subject are positionally interchangeable. Such predicatives are expressed by a noun with the definite article.



London is the capital of Britain. = The capital of Britain is London.

Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. = The highest mountain in the world is Mount Everest.

2. A classifying predicative names a class of persons or non-persons to which that denoted by the subject belongs. The predicative in this case is expressed by a noun with the indefinite article.

John is a student. My father is a teacher. This is a book.

3. A characterizing predicative denotes a state or quality of a person or non-person and is expressed by an adjective or a stative.

The room is dark. The sky was blue. The patient fell asleep.

A characterizing predicative may also be a noun which in this case has no article.

He was elected president.

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