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Like wind, like a brook, he ran.

Are these adjective phrases, in English grammar?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Tyler James Young, kiamlaluno, SovereignSun, user178049, Michael Rybkin Dec 13 '17 at 17:07

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    No, they are not adjective phrases. "Like" is a preposition here, and the PPs are adjuncts. Adjectival "like" occurs in predicative complement function, e.g. "Ed is very like his brother", where the meaning is "resemble". – BillJ May 27 '17 at 5:24
  • @saySay: Are you trying to understand what these phrases mean, how they work in the sentence, or are you searching for a label that would be acceptable to contemporary academics? – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 27 '17 at 14:00
  • Interesting. So, I may read it, as, like, a preposition. I guess, I often thought of prepositons, like, having to do, with, maybe, space. And, I guess, I often, maybe, read like, as, similar to. Similar(ly[?]) to wind, similar(ly[?]) to a brook, he ran.? This may make it seem, maybe, more like a, maybe, adverbial phrase? – saySay May 28 '17 at 22:59
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They're called "adverbial phrases", because they modify the verb "ran".

They're also called "prepositional phrases" because each is introduced by a preposition: "like".

  • They are indeed PPs, and their function is that of 'adjunct' - a much better term than 'adverbial'. See my answer here: link – BillJ May 27 '17 at 6:29
  • @BillJ I don't think your comment is helpful to someone trying to learn English, at least at the level demonstrated by the OP. I am answering the question in terms of basic grammatical concepts taught widely in elementary school in the English-speaking world, not debating fine points of linguistics. – Ben Kovitz May 27 '17 at 6:40
  • Oh, come off it! One of the problems we have is people like you who perpetuate Mickey Mouse grammar. And it was you who used the term "adverbial", not the OP. And what gives you the authority to state "basic grammatical concepts taught widely in elementary school in the English-speaking world". In my language school in Europe, we are very careful to avoid using the term 'adverbial' since it is potentially misleading for the reasons I gave. – BillJ May 27 '17 at 7:00

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