the complement of the verb OR the subject complement?

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yakor

Senior Member
Russian
Hi!
I'm in a doubt with the ing form after the verb "go". I'm not sure about if the ing form after the verb "go" is the complement of the verb or the complement of the subject((subject complement).
For example,"Yesterday we went sightseeing with my friend" I think "sightseeing" is a complement of the verb here, like in "We start sightseeing at five o'clock", where "sightseeing" is a complement of "start".
But in "The bullet went flying over my head" we deal with the participle(participle phrase) that is the complement of the subject "the bullet". Yes?
 
  • Maggŭs

    Senior Member
    Raji; Farsi
    I thought about this one to find the difference between the two structures.

    Complement of a verb: as you said, some verbs are followed a special verbal pattern:
    - I enjoy play + ing soccer.
    - I go shop(p) + ing everyday.

    Now, you want to know whether "flying" in your sentence is a verb complement (like the -ing forms above) or a subject complement participle structure (!).

    To answer this, we should remember the function of participial phrases: to modify nouns, noun phrases and pronouns. In this sentence, I cannot see a participial phrase because apparently "flying" is still a verb complement:

    - The bullet went fly + ing over my head

    However, there are some structures in which participial phrases can modify the object:

    - I observed the man enter + ing the building.

    "Man" is the object of the verb "observe". "Man" is modified by "entering the building" which is a genuine participial phrase.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I agree with Maggus. A verb complement necessarily completes the meaning of a verb. When you add "sightseeing" to "go," you completely change the meaning of "go." The same is true of "go flying." "The bullet went over my head" has a completely different sense of "went" than "The bullet went flying over my head."

    Another simple proof is that you cannot separate the two words with a comma:

    The bullet went, flying over my head. :cross:

    ... or move the "flying" phrase elsewhere in the sentence:

    The bullet, flying, went over my head. :cross:
    The bullet, flying over my head, went. :cross:

    In any case, "flying..." would never be a subject complement; instead it would just be a prepositional phrase modifying the subject.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    ;lucas, I disagree with you. It is about nothing.
    She is nice. "nice" is a subject complement. (She is, nice. (wrong)She nice, is. (wrong)) You cannot separate the two words with a comma.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    To answer this, we should remember the function of participial phrases: to modify nouns, noun phrases and pronouns. In this sentence, I cannot see a participial phrase because apparently "flying" is still a verb complement:
    Why? I think "flying" is a participle and it modifies the subject. The bullet was flying (participle, no gerund), when it went over the head.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    However, there are some structures in which participial phrases can modify the object:

    - I observed the man enter + ing the building.

    "Man" is the object of the verb "observe". "Man" is modified by "entering the building" which is a genuine participial phrase.
    You confuse the relative clause "entering the building" with the complement. (the complement phrase) Do you see the difference between them? Your example has nothing to do with my question. Can you see a participle (or a participle phrase)as a subject complement at all?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I interpret sightseeing as a verb complement in "Yesterday we went sightseeing with my friend." It would be a subject complement in "He walked up the street sightseeing." More examples:

    They came swimming with me yesterday. [Swimming as verb complement: they came for a swim.]
    A little fish came swimming up and took a bite out of me. [Swimming as subject complement: the fish was swimming as it came.]
     

    Maggŭs

    Senior Member
    Raji; Farsi
    Why? I think "flying" is a participle and it modifies the subject. The bullet was flying (participle, no gerund), when it went over the head.
    Explain it according to a theory of syntax! Speculation cannot help.
     

    Maggŭs

    Senior Member
    Raji; Farsi
    You confuse the relative clause "entering the building" with the complement. (the complement phrase) Do you see the difference between them? Your example has nothing to do with my question. Can you see a participle (or a participle phrase)as a subject complement at all?
    Sorry!
    Your reading of my example shows that you should first review the principles of syntax and grammar. After that we can talk!
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "Went flying" has two very different meanings, depending on context:

    A. Yesterday we went flying with my friend. [We went for an outing in his cropduster.]
    B. The bullet went flying over my head. [It went over my head really fast.]

    In sentence A, went flying means "took a ride (in an aircraft)", but in sentence B, went flying means "passed quickly (through the air)" or even "was sent hurtling quickly (through the air)".

    In sentence A, flying is an activity we participated in; in sentence B, flying describes the bullet's motion.

    Because of the difference in semantics, we might say that flying comes closer to describing the subject in sentence B than in sentence A.

    On the other hand, "went flying" in both sentences has meaning not inherent in "went" and "flying" separately. In other words, flying seems to be part of the verb phrase in both sentences, albeit in different ways.

    At this point I have changed my mind since my last post, and am inclined to call "swimming up" in my last post and "flying" in sentence B verb complements, even though they are semantically more descriptive of the subject than is "flying" in sentence A.

    In would help if we had some clear definitions of "verb complement" and "subject complement" to work with.
     
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