What is the role of the prepositional phrase with his friend in the sentence below:

He was with his friend when I saw him today.

Does it function as an adverbial or complement?


2 Answers 2


He was with his friend when I saw him today.

The preposition phrase "with his friend" is a complement of "be".

It can't be an adjunct (adverbial) since it is obligatory, and such items are always complements: they are needed to complete the verb phrase.

Adjuncts can occur in copular clauses though; compare:

He was with his friend at that time.

  • and what about this sentence : She has been working with her sister for two years. is the preposition WITH a prepositional verb or a complement?? Jun 15, 2018 at 13:28
  • @OsamaFeras The PP "with her sister" is an optional item, and hence is an adjunct (adverbial) modifying "working".
    – BillJ
    Jun 15, 2018 at 13:39
  • so is it a prepositional verb?? Jun 15, 2018 at 13:45
  • @OsamaFeras I don't follow you. "With" is a preposition, not a verb.
    – BillJ
    Jun 15, 2018 at 14:10
  • @OsamaFeras If you're asking whether "work with" is a phrasal verb, the answer is no. "work" is a verb by itself, and "with" is an ordinary preposition that introduces the propositional phrase "with her sister", which functions as an adverb that modifies the verb "work". If you tried to reword it as "She has been working her sister with", that would be ungrammatical. Jun 15, 2018 at 15:57

It is a subject complement referring to "he"

  • Thanks. are there certain rules governing the uses and placements of preposition??. for example the prepositional phrase with can be a subject complement , an object complement , and an adverbial. Jun 15, 2018 at 18:01

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