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predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives

Predicate Nominatives and Predicate Adjectives

To understand this presentation, be sure you feel comfortable with “Nouns,” “Adjectives,” ”Linking and Action Verbs” and “Prepositions” from the Parts of Speech presentations. It would also be helpful to have reviewed “Subjects and Objects of the Preposition” as well as “Direct and Indirect Objects” from the Roles in a Sentence presentations.

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Predicate nominatives are nouns that are, with rare exception, after the verb. Although they might initially be confused with direct objects, which also follow the verb, predicate nominatives differ in two key ways. 1. they only follow linking verbs 2. they re-name or are the same thing as the subject of the sentence. Observe the difference between a direct object and a predicate nominative Ralph purchased a car from a local used car dealer. “car” is the only noun that is not in a prepositional phrase after the verb of the sentence. “car” is what was “purchased.” Therefore, “car” is a direct object of this sentence. Ralph is a good neighbor of mine. “neighbor is the only noun that is not in a prepositional phrase. “neighbor” and “Ralph” are one and the same. Therefore, “neighbor” is a predicate nominative in this sentence.

slide3

Here is another example of the difference between direct objects and predicate nominatives. Kelsey’s prom dress became her with its long, sweeping lines. The verb is “became,” which in this sentence is in its rarer form, as an action verb. “her” is the only noun not in a prepositional phrase after the verb. “Her” answers the question of what was “become,” and therefore, “her” is a direct object of the sentence. Kelsey became the spokesperson for her class on this issue. The verb is “became” which in this sentence is in its more common form, as a linking verb. “spokesperson” is the only noun not in a prepositional phrase after the verb. “spokesperson” and “Kelsey,” are one and the same, and therefore, “spokesperson” is a predicate nominative in the sentence.

  • Now, it is your turn; in which sentence is there a predicate nominative?

1. Laura in the fifth grade is a gifted singer and dancer in our productions.

2. Happily, Floyd minds his own business for the most part.

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1. Laura in the fifth grade is a gifted singer and dancer in our productions. In the above sentence, follow the steps below. A. Is there a linking verb? Yes, “is” is always a linking verb. B. Is there any noun or pronouns not in a prepositional phrase after the verb ? Yes, “singer” and “dancer” C. Are these nouns or pronouns the same thing as the subject? In other words, could I place an equals sign = between them? Yes, “Laura” equals the “singer” and “dancer” D. “singer” and “dancer” are predicate nominatives in this sentence

  • Try another – see if there are any predicate nominatives in the following sentence.

To our surprise Cindy fortunately stayed at the top of the stairs.

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To our surprise Cindy fortunately stayed at the top of the stairs. A. Is there a linking verb? No, “stayed” could be a linking verb, but is an action verb in this sentence because “Cindy” is literally “staying” somewhere. B. Is there any noun or pronoun not in a prepositional phrase after the verb? No, they are all in prepositional phrases C. Without a linking verb, there can be no predicate nominative. D. If there is no noun that is not in a prepositional phrase after a linking verb, there can be no predicate nominative.

Try this one next

In the meantime Gary seems a good fit for our position in sales.

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In the meantime Gary seems a good fit for our position in sales. “seems” is always a linking verb “fit” is a noun that is not in a prepositional phrase “fit” is the same thing as “Gary” in this sentence “fit” is a predicate nominative. Predicate adjectives work the same way as predicate nominatives except, surprise, they are adjectives and not nouns. Therefore, they will still follow linking verbs only, and they will refer back to the subject. Here is an example -- Amelia was happy about the news of the freighter. “was” is always a linking verb. Everything after the verb except “happy” is inside a prepositional phrase “happy” is a predicate adjective because it describes the subject. “Amelia” is the one who is “happy.”

  • Try this sentence -- look for a predicate adjective and/or predicate nominative

Martha has been a good friend for many years.

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Martha has been a good friend for many years. In this sentence, “has been” is the verb. Although “has” is an action verb and “been” comes from the linking verb, “to be,” one always uses the second verb to determine whether the verb will be action or linking. Therefore “has been” is a linking verb. “for many years” is a prepositional phrase. You do have one noun and one adjective that are in the predicate and neither is in a prepositional phrase – “good” and “friend” “good” describes “friend” so even though it is an adjective that is in the predicate because it does not refer to the subject, it is not a predicate adjective. “friend” is a noun that is after the verb and not in a prepositional phrase. It also is the same thing as the subject. “Martha” is the “friend.” Therefore “friend” is a predicate nominative in this sentence.

  • Try another – find the predicate nominative or predicate adjective in the following.

This chocolate ice cream is the best in New England.

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This chocolate ice cream is the best in New England. The verb is “is,” which is always a linking verb. There is one noun that is not in a prepositional phrase. – “best” “best” is a predicate nominative in this sentence because the “ice cream” and the “best” are the same thing. Some might say “best” is an adjective, not a noun. “best” can be an adjective, but when the article “the” appears before it, “best”becomes a noun.

  • Try this sentence – look for predicate adjectives or predicate nominatives.

After a few minutes, those unripe peaches will become sweet and delicious on the grill.

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After a few minutes, those unripe peaches will become sweet and delicious on the grill. “will become” is a linking verb in this sentence “on the grill” is a prepositional phrase after the verb “sweet” and “tasty” are predicate adjectives because they refer to and describe the “peaches.”

Try this sentence – again, look for predicate adjectives or predicate nominatives.

John Wesley Powell traveled down the Colorado River in a small wooden boat.

slide10

John Wesley Powell traveled down the Colorado River in a small wooden boat. The only verb “traveled” is an action verb. Therefore, there can be no predicate adjectives or predicate nominatives.

  • Try this one

Millie turned cold at the mere mention of the quadratic equation.

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Millie turned cold at the mere mention of the quadratic equation. “turned” is a linking verb in this sentence “at the mere mention” and “of the quadratic equation” are prepositional phrases. “cold” is a predicate adjective because it refers to Millie and describes her.

Here’s another one for you to try – any predicate adjectives or predicate nominatives?

With great eagerness Gordon turned the first page of the mystery novel by Raymond Chandler.

slide12

With great eagerness Gordon turned the first page of the mystery novel by Raymond Chandler. “turned” is the only verb in the sentence and is working as an action verb this time; therefore there cannot be a predicate adjective or predicate nominative.

Here’s another sentence where the verb could be a linking or action verb. Is there a predicate adjective, a predicate nominative, or a direct object?

Angie smelled the enticing fragrance of the bakery from a block away.

slide13

Angie smelled the enticing fragrance of the bakery from a block away. The verb is “smelled,” and in this sentence “smelled” is an action verb. The “fragrance” is the only noun after the verb that is not in a prepositional phrase and the “fragrance is what was “smelled.” Therefore, “fragrance” is a direct object in this sentence.

Here’s another sentence where the verb could be a linking or action verb. Is there a predicate adjective, a predicate nominative, or a direct object?

To Angie the freshly baked raisin bread smelled heavenly.

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To Angie the freshly baked raisin bread smelled heavenly. “smelled” works as a linking verb in this sentence. There are no prepositional phrases Even though it ends in “ly,” “heavenly” works as a predicate adjective in this sentence because it follows a linking verb and describes the subject. (Remember, although adverbs are known to end in “ly,” other parts of speech, like adjectives, can end in “ly” as well.

Any predicate nominatives or predicate adjectives? or is there a direct object?

Amazingly the players stayed calm despite the tension of the last two minutes of the game

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Amazingly the players stayed calm despite the tension of the last two minutes of the game “stayed” can be a linking or action verb and in this sentence, it is a linking verb because the players are not literally staying somewhere – actually they are probably moving a good deal. There are three prepositional phrases and once they are removed, “calm” remains the only word left over. “calm” describes the “players” and is therefore a predicate adjective.

Try another sentence --

Cornelius stayed quietly in the room and waited patiently for her arrival.

slide16

Cornelius stayed quietly in the room and waited patiently for her arrival. There are actually two verbs this time, “stayed” and “waited.” “stayed” can be a linking or action verb and here it works as an action verb. “waited” is always an action verb. Work the predicates of each verb one at a time – after “stayed” there is one word left out of the prepositional phrase “in the room.” The word is “quietly” and the question is whether it is a predicate adjective with an “ly” ending as with “heavenly” or is an adverb. The answer is it is an adverb, and the simple check to see if that’s right is to try to describe “Cornelius” with the word “quietly” and, of course, you would not say the “quietly Cornelius,” you would say the “quiet Cornelius.” And, there’s no question about whether “patiently” is a predicate adjective because although it does following a linking verb, “stayed” it is part of the predicate of an action verb, and is therefore another adverb.

Here’s another

Anna’s new business became successful in part because of the recession.

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Anna’s new business became successful in part because of the recession. “became” is usually a linking verb and is here. After you remove the prepositional phrases from the predicate “in part” and “because of the recession,” you are left with “successful.” “successful” works as the predicate adjective describing “business,” which is the subject of the sentence.

Try another sentence?

Stephen might be the best musician in the school at the present time.

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Stephen might be the best musician in the school at the present time. “might be” is always a linking verb “in the school” and “at the present time” are the two prepositional phrases in the predicate. Remove those and you are left with “best” and “musician” “best” describes “musician” and so it is an adjective, but not a predicate adjective since it does not describe the subject. “musician” is the predicate nominative. It renames or is the same thing as the subject.

Here’s another

Velma felt carefully along the top shelf for the missing key but found

nothing.

slide19

Velma felt carefully along the top shelf for the missing key but found nothing. Two verbs “felt” and “found.” “felt” could be a linking or action verb. In this sentence, because Velma is actually touching something, it is an action verb; therefore there will be no predicate adjective or predicate nominative. Since ”found” is always an action verb, there will, likewise, be no predicate adjective or predicate nominative.

Last one

During the flight Curt felt weary from the long meeting and slept for the entire trip.

slide20

During the flight Curt felt weary from the long meeting and slept for the entire trip. Again, two verbs, “felt” and “slept” This time Curt is not touching anything; therefore, “felt” is working as a linking verb. Remove the prepositional phrases in the predicate and “weary” is the only word left over. “Weary” is a predicate adjective describing “Curt.” “slept” is the second verb and is always an action verb. There are no predicate nominatives or adjectives, then, in its predicate.

  • That’s all for now