predicate nominative

  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes. The subject is the existential there, so the meaning is that many desserts for the party exist — but nothing else is stated as being those desserts.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Is it correct to state that this sentence has no predicate nominative?

    There are many desserts for the party.
    I don't like the example. To be should not have been used. To be is an exception to most guidance (It give an equivalence/state) and should be treated separately. I say this as "nominative" in "predicate nominative" is massively confusing - is "nominative, i.e. the grammatical case", or does it mean "any type of noun, including pronouns"? (It must be the latter.)

    Additionally, you have used "There". I do not see "there" in the way lingobingo does - it is not the subject. For me there is only one "there" in English: it is an adverb with the approximate meaning of "at this point/place":

    There are many desserts for the party. -> Many desserts are there (~at that place) for the party. Thus we have "Many desserts" as the subject of an inverted sentence with two prepositional modifiers.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    For me there is only one "there" in English: it is an adverb with the approximate meaning of "at this point/place":
    What part of speech is 'there' in this sentence
    'There are many roads to ruin'?

    It seems much different from the adverbial 'there' in this sentence:
    'Do you see the road to Rouen there, to the left of the signpost?'
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    'There are many roads to ruin'?
    An adverb: 'Many roads to ruin are at this point '
    'Do you see the road at this point (the one I am indicating) to Rouen, to the left of the signpost?'

    When substituted, it is not the best English, but conveys the meaning.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Don't you get bored at your country cottage?
    No; there are lots of things to do there.


    So that means 'At that place are lots of things to do at that place,' does it? Hmmm.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    You should re-read
    there (~at that place)
    The approximation sign is there (at that point) for a reason - If you are paraphrasing your example, it could be done better. :)
    No; there are lots of things to do there. (with an implied "when we are there"
    No; lots of things to do are {at the point in time [of being in the cottage]} there [at that place].


    And to put the ball back in your court consider
    "There is a dog in the garden" / "There are two dogs in the garden." The form of the verb is usually decided by the subject.

    A: "What is in the garden?"
    B: (i) "It is a dog in the garden."
    B(ii) "They are dogs in the garden."

    Edit to add comment from OED
    Adverb:
    4. Used unemphatically to introduce a sentence or clause in which, for the sake of emphasis or preparing the hearer, the verb comes before its subject, as there comes a time when, etc., there was heard a rumbling noise. In interrogative sentences there comes between the verb and subject, as Breathes there the man, etc.?, or follows the first word of a compound verb, as Does there breathe a man?, Shall there be any notice taken of it? The same order was formerly observed after an introductory adv. or clause, as Then came there a voice, Soon shall there arise a prophet. Grammatically, there is no difference between There comes the train! and There comes a time when, etc.; but, while in the former there is demonstrative and stressed, in the latter it has been reduced to a mere anticipative element occupying the place [NB not the function] of the subject which comes later. Preceding or following a main verb, or following any verb, there, thus used, is stressless (proclitic or enclitic: e.g. there-ˈcame, ˈbreathes-there, ˈis-there, ˈwill-there), but preceding be or an auxiliary, there has a slight stress, and the verb is enclitic (e.g. ˈthere-is, ˈthere-was, ˈthere-will).
     
    Last edited:

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Back to the original question:
    I asked the all-knowing Internet "What is a predicate nominative" and got this definition:
    a word in the nominative case that completes a copulative verb, such as son in the sentence Charlie is my son.
    Let's set aside "nominative case" for now, since English doesn't mark nouns for case
    (and let's not talk about the case of pronouns in this thread),
    and instead lets focus on the concept of "copulative verb".
    This is sometimes called a "linking verb", and it equates noun phrase A with noun phrase B (as in "Charlie is my son")
    or at least says A belongs to the category B (as in "The banana is a fruit").
    The most frequent linking verb is "be".
    But in "There are many desserts", "There" is not being equated with, or categorized as, a dessert or many desserts.
    Thus, Bombist, the answer to your question is Yes, it is correct to state that the sentence has no predicate nominative.
     

    Bombist

    Member
    Ukrainian
    But in "There are many desserts", "There" is not being equated with, or categorized as, a dessert or many desserts.
    But Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary asserts that 'be' may be used as linking verb in 'there is/are + noun' case.

    linking verb there is/are + noun to exist; to be present

    For example: There's a bank down the road.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's the existential usage of the copula (linking verb):

    In English, existential clauses usually use the dummy subject construction (also known as expletive) with there, as in "There are boys in the yard",
    Existential clause - Wikipedia

    As far as my understanding goes, a predicate nominative is a noun phrase that acts as a subject complement:Mary is my best friend. As Cenzontle has said, your sentence doesn't contain one of those.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes. Desserts can be thought of as the “real” subject, as opposed to the “dummy” subject there (Dummy subjects - Cambridge Dictionary).

    With a predicate nominative (not a term that the average English student even needs to know, I would have thought?), the linking verb’s subject and the noun or noun phrase that is its complement are, in effect, both the same thing or person. This is sometimes described as the complement “renaming” the subject.


    Her mother used to be a lawyer (the lawyer and the mother are the same person)
    My favourite fruit is watermelon
    Watermelon is my favourite fruit
     
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