subject complement

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gil12345

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,


"The roast beef smells funny. "

"funny" serves here as complement of the subject, that is, the roast beef.

So I think, in the sentence "The soup tastes good". "good" also serves as the complement of the subject.

Thus, we could understand the above sentences as "The funny roast beef smells" or "the good soup tastes".

The other day, I asked a question about a sentence about the complement from SAT Official Guide

it goes:

"Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture."

To my understanding, "fully formed" also serves as the complement of the subject, in this case, "Everything".

So the original sentence could be rewritten as

"Everything in this world which are fully formed issues from a benign monster called manufacture."

Am I right?

If so, Can I say "He comes quiet"?

Or is there any difference between "He comes quiet" and "He comes quietly"?

Thanks

Gil
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello Gil,

    If the conclusion of your analysis is that the roast beef smells funny means the same thing as the funny roast beef smells, then you should find out what is wrong with your analysis.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    "The funny beef roast smells" - on a pragmatic point of view, this is not right. Can roast be funny?
    On the other hand, you can say 'the beef roast smells' but can't say 'the soup tastes'.
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Hello Gil,

    If the conclusion of your analysis is that the roast beef smells funny means the same thing as the funny roast beef smells, then you should find out what is wrong with your analysis.
    I was making a guess. I am not familiar with the usage of subject complement.


    So I am expecting more explanations.

    Gil
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    'This dress is nice', 'nice' is also a subject complement. It qualifies the subject.
    'He comes quiet', 'quietly' should be used because adverbs qualifies verbs while adjectives qualifies nouns.
    There are verbs in English that go with adjectives: seem, feel, see, be. You should look deeper in grammar books.
     
    Last edited:

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    'This dress is nice', 'nice' is also a subject complement. It qualifies the subject.
    'He comes quiet', 'quietly' should be used because adverbs qualifies verbs while adjectives qualifies nouns.
    There are verbs in English that go with adjectives: seem, feel, see, be. You should look deeper in grammar books.
    How about the following sentence?

    Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture.

    The use of" issues fully formed"?

    Is it a linking verb?
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Linking verbs are usually followed by a subject complement - a noun, pronoun, or adjective that refers to and describes, or means the same as the subject.
    'She grows prettier every day'.
    'My room stayed cool.'
    I do not see any linking verb in your example, sorry.
     

    MikeNewYork

    Senior Member
    English-American
    Hi,


    "The roast beef smells funny. "

    "funny" serves here as complement of the subject, that is, the roast beef.

    So I think, in the sentence "The soup tastes good". "good" also serves as the complement of the subject.

    Thus, we could understand the above sentences as "The funny roast beef smells" or "the good soup tastes".

    The other day, I asked a question about a sentence about the complement from SAT Official Guide

    it goes:

    "Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture."

    To my understanding, "fully formed" also serves as the complement of the subject, in this case, "Everything".

    So the original sentence could be rewritten as

    "Everything in this world which are fully formed issues from a benign monster called manufacture."

    Am I right?

    If so, Can I say "He comes quiet"?

    Or is there any difference between "He comes quiet" and "He comes quietly"?

    Thanks

    Gil
    You are trying to create a rule out of a verb of sensing. Sensing verbs can be linking verbs and create a position for a predicate adjective.

    The roast beef smells funny is such a case. It is an equivalent to "the roast beef smells spoiled. So we have "spoiled roast beef".

    The context decides whether the sensing verb is linking or not.

    Consider two examples:

    The dog smells bad. (adjective - it stinks)
    The dog smells badly. (adverb - it could not find a bird with a GPS device)
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I love your example with the dog not having any smell. However, Gil is trying to understand the notion of subject complement and he is making analogies by using 'sense verbs', which you very well pointed, are tricky. His problem is the SAT example.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "The roast beef smells funny."

    "The soup tastes good."

    . . . we could understand the above sentences as "the funny roast beef smells" or "the good soup tastes".
    No, we could not. The first sentence tells us how the roast beef smells [to the person who is speaking]; it describes the odor of the beef. It doesn't say that the beef is funny. The second sentence, similarly, tells us how the soup tastes [again, to the person who is speaking]; it describes the taste of the soup. It doesn't say that the soup is good.

    I don't know what "subject complement" means; we weren't taught such labels in school. But your assumptions are wrong.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture."

    To my understanding, "fully formed" also serves as the complement of the subject, in this case, "Everything".
    No, "fully formed describes how Everything is issued - it is adverbial.

    So the original sentence could be rewritten as

    "Everything in this world which are fully formed issues from a benign monster called manufacture."

    Am I right?
    No. Consider: "Everything in the world issues quickly from a benign monster called manufacture." That does not mean "Everything in this world which is quick issues from a benign monster called manufacture."
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I was making a guess. I am not familiar with the usage of subject complement.


    So I am expecting more explanations.

    Gil
    You are probably finding that you get better answers when you keep the question simple, Gil.

    A "subject complement" is used with a linking verb. To smell can be a linking verb.

    In the sentences The meat is rotten and the meat smells rotten, the adjective rotten is a subject complement. The meat smells rotten means that we get the impression from the smell that the meat is rotten.

    The rotten beef smells means the beef, which is rotten, gives off a bad smell. Here you are using the verb smell in a different way - meaning to let off a bad smell; in this second example to smell is not a linking verb, and this is one cause of the error in your analysis.
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    In the SAT sentence,

    you think "fully formed" is adverbial. But I doubt that.

    How about "well designed" in phrase " a well designed plan"?

    Can an adverbial modify a noun?

    Anyway, thank you.

    I hope someone could explain in more details.

    Gil
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Originally Posted by gil12345
    "Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture."

    To my understanding, "fully formed" also serves as the complement of the subject, in this case, "Everything".
    No, "fully formed describes how Everything is issued - it is adverbial.

    PaulQ, in the SAT sentence,

    you think "fully formed" is adverbial. But I doubt that.

    How about "well designed" in phrase " a well designed plan"?

    Can an adverbial modify a noun?

    Anyway, thank you.

    I hope someone could explain in more details.

    Gil
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Originally Posted by gil12345
    "Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture."

    To my understanding, "fully formed" also serves as the complement of the subject, in this case, "Everything".
    No, "fully formed describes how Everything is issued - it is adverbial.

    [...]
    I don't think subject complements can have adverbial force. I suspect they are restricted to words or phrases or clauses having the role of pronouns, nouns, or adjectives.

    In your sentence fully-formed does not describe how everything was issued, it describes how everything was when it was issued; ie. it's adjectival not adverbial.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    In that case, the sentence would have had this structure: 'Everything that is fully-formed in the world issues from a benign...', don't you think?
    The position of 'fully formed' in the SAT example is also important.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In that case, the sentence would have had this structure: 'Everything that is fully-formed in the world issues from a benign...', don't you think?
    The position of 'fully formed' in the SAT example is also important.
    If 'that case' refers to my example, Irinet, I don't agree, I'm afraid. Your suggested formulation implies that there may be things not fully formed which are not under discussion.

    "Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture." posits no such category. Everything means everything, not just everything which meets a particular criterion.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Nice point you have there, but that's the idea of the post: adj. vs adv. and 'fully formed'. And if it refers to 'everything' and not to 'issues', then it seems to me that certain criteria make room for a debate regarding 'everything', esp. when we meet negative connotations here.
    The sentence should not be taken as expressing a general truth.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Nice point you have there, but that's the idea of the post: adj. vs adv. and 'fully formed'. And if it refers to 'everything' and not to 'issues', then it seems to me that certain criteria make room for a debate regarding 'everything', esp. when we meet negative connotations here.
    The sentence should not be taken as expressing a general truth.
    Forgive me, but I've no idea what you mean by "it seems to me that certain criteria make room for a debate". Are you saying that for you fully-formed is an adverb, and, therefore, not a subject complement?

    I think to issue can be used in a copula sense and is being so used here, and, for me, that means it cannot be adverbial. Do you question that, Irinet?
     
    Last edited:

    MikeNewYork

    Senior Member
    English-American
    Can you say Gil that 'issue' may have one of the following copulas meanings listed below:
    "Be; Look; Feel; Taste; Smell; Sound; Seem; Appear; Get; Become; Grow; Stay; Keep; Turn; Prove; Go; Remain; Resemble; Run; Lie"?
    (http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/copula-verb.html#0fM4AXTH0eymwhvG.99)
    I have stayed put of this because you guys were having a great debate. The original sentence is tricky, but based on that use of "issue" (to come forth by way of descent from a specified parent or ancestor), I would conclude that "fully formed" is an adverb. It answers the question of how it was issued. That said, it is also tempting to make "fully-formed" an adjective, but I can't make "issue" into a copula. Some of these decisions are not completely clear.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Take a verb which is commonly used as a copula, to leave - the old man left happy. I hope we are agreed:

    1. that to leave is being used as a copula verb in this sentence.
    2. that happy is an adjective here and not an adverb: we are being told about the state of the old man when he left, that he was happy, not anything about the manner in which he left. We aren't saying that he left happily, that he had no objection to leaving.

    This seems to me to be close to the example we are dealing with here: "Everything in the world issues fully formed from a benign monster called manufacture."

    It seems to me like being born blind - that's how one is when one is born, not anything about the manner of one's birth.

    I'm having trouble seeing how people can see fully formed and blind as anything other than adjectives. You're going to have to persuade me with arguments.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    That would be the reason to go deeper and see the word order here. If 'fully formed' were a subject complement, I would think that its position to the subject would be closer because of the new information revealed. Instead, 'in the world' seems more important to the subject while 'fully formed' is to the action (the result of the monster's influence on everything).
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The old man left the room in the old house happy - it's still a copula.

    I wonder, Irinet, if you are seeing fully formed from a benign monster as the complete adverbial phrase here.

    For me the meaning wouldn't be altered if we reordered the sentence as: "Everything in the world issues from a benign monster called manufacture fully formed." That might make it harder to feel fully formed as an adverb. It may be that our different views are based on different interpretations of the meaning of the sentence.

    If we were to write The new day sprang from the embers of the night, bright and fresh and gleaming, would you see bright and fresh and gleaming as adverbs?
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    He, he. I wanted to ask you the same thing about a title I found to support your ideas.
    In this sentence, "the insects cicadas emerge fully formed on US east coast as mating rituals", I agree that 'fully formed" is a subject complement. Is that it?
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Related to your questions, of course I see 'spring', as a copular.
    And to your first, I confess, 'no'.
    I considered 'fully formed' a single Adv P followed by a PP.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I think this discussion filled with so many clarifying examples on your part has led me conclude that 'issue' is to these contexts synonym with: APPEAR - spring - emerge.
    I was asking in one of my posts if Gil can identify a synonym for 'issue' in the list I provided.
    In my language this topic is as difficult as it is in English.
    Thank you, Thomas for your bearing with me!
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Let's us make the question simpler.

    In the SAT sentence, Is "fully formed" an adjective or adverb? What does it modify? Could someone give me more examples like that?

    Gil
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Let's us make the question simpler.

    In the SAT sentence, Is "fully formed" an adjective or adverb? What does it modify? Could someone give me more examples like that?

    Gil
    I think we've given you plenty of answers to this question, Gil, and I'm surprised you suggest that we haven't given you plenty of examples as well.
     
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