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"She is at the point of her death."

Here, 'at the point of her death' is said to be an adverbial phrase by the textbook which modifies the finite verb 'is'. But I thought it is an adjective phrase modifying the subject 'she'. If I am wrong, where and how?

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    I agree with you--it's a preposition phrase acting as an 'adjectival' predicate complement. But we don't say that a person is 'at the point of' somebody else's death! – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 31 '17 at 14:41
  • oops... I edited that... – Sami Oct 31 '17 at 16:12
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    A complement, yes, but locative not predicative. – BillJ Oct 31 '17 at 19:02
  • What if she's at wit's end? Is the type of complement determined semantically or naively (in the algorithmic sense)? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 31 '17 at 21:48
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    @StoneyB I'm curious, though. If it's adjectival then we should be able to use it as an adjective, "At the point of her death she is calm". Here it seems more like an adverbial phrase telling us the time frame, and not describing her. – Andrew Nov 22 '17 at 16:27
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The sentence "She is at the point of her death." has a subject, a verb, and an adverbial prepositional phrase.

  • [She] [is] [at the point of her death].

Here the "Adverbial Prepositional Phrase" modifies the verb "is" and answers the questions "Where?", "At what point?", or even "When?". Here "at" is the head of the phrase and "the point of her death" is a noun phrase functioning as a prepositional complement.

  • I don't think it's an adverbial prepositional phrase, Alex, because "is" is a copula or linking verb; therefore, it's not modifying the verb "is"; it's complementing it. – Nick Dec 9 '17 at 6:47
  • @NicholasCastagnola Are you sure? It doesn't make sense as anything other than an adverbial phrase. It does answer the question, "Where?" maybe "When?" doesn't it? – SovereignSun Dec 9 '17 at 6:50
  • Yes, but as Stoney B points out above, I think it is a predicate complement. If it were, "She writhed on her bed at the point of her death", I would agree with you because it would be acting as if it were and adverb, modifying "writhed". – Nick Dec 9 '17 at 6:57
  • Adverbs and adjectives and their complements and adjuncts and phrases are not my strong suit, so I shall defer to you on this one, but Stoney B suggests that it is a predicate complement and that is what I think it is, but I'm not sure. I don't like the word adverbial here because "is" is a linking verb; therefore, it never takes an adverb--only an adjective: "She is independent"--not "She is independently." – Nick Dec 9 '17 at 7:04
  • @NicholasCastagnola Hmm, taking that into account you may be right. – SovereignSun Dec 9 '17 at 7:33

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