As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their families.

"I'm half-and-half," said Seamus. "Me dad's a Muggle. Mom didn't tell him she was a witch 'til after they were married. Bit of a nasty shock for him."

The others laughed.

"What about you, Neville?" said Ron.

"Well, my gran brought me up and she's a witch," said Neville, "but the family thought I was all-Muggle for ages. My Great Uncle Algie kept trying to catch me off my guard [i] and force some magic out of me [ii] -- he pushed me off the end of Blackpool pier [iii] once, I nearly drowned -- but nothing happened until I was eight. Great Uncle Algie came round for dinner, and he was hanging me out of an upstairs window [iv] by the ankles when my Great Auntie Enid offered him a meringue and he accidentally let go. But I bounced -- all the way down the garden and into the road. They were all really pleased, Gran was crying, she was so happy. And you should have seen their faces when I got in here -- they thought I might not be magic enough to come, you see. Great Uncle Algie was so pleased he bought me my toad."

--- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

[i] can be called a depictive. I guess [iii] could be a resultative. For [ii] and [iii], it’s not that easy. At a glance, they are like resultatives, and yet they seem to be like adverbials with locative or directional meaning. May I be helped understood better?

  • It depends on what you mean by an adverb or an adverbial: is it a sentential function (modifies a clause or verb or adjective) or a semantic class (designates a manner, location, position, direction, &c)? Nov 27, 2013 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


I think you are making two mistakes here.

The first is supposing that these preposition phrases must be either predicative complements or adverbials. They are both: complements syntactically and adverbials semantically. The complements these idioms require are supplied by adverbial expressions--which you may regard as functional adjectives, since they are all to some degree attributed to nouns!

The second mistake is supposing that the categories resultative and depictive represent ‘real’ entities. They're only handles for naming contrasting semantic roles played by the complements: they help you grasp the difference, but they're neither exhaustive nor constitutive.

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