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We know that the complements of action verbs can be neither an adjective nor a prepositional phrase, but, it seems that that situation changes for linking verbs.

  • He was upstairs.

"Upstairs" is an adverb as you know and it is a part of the verb "be", which it belongs to.

So, it has an adverb complement?

  • He was at the party.

"At the party" is an adverbial prepositional phrase expressing where he was, and it is also the complement of the verb "was" ?

  • I feel at peace.

"At peace" is a prepositional phrase and belongs to the verb "feel". I can't separate "at peace" from "feel" because the meaning is getting lost.

  • I was forced to be a bad person.

"A bad person" is a noun but it obviously seems to be belonging to the verb "be".

Do you also think that linking verbs can have adjective, prepositional phrases, noun complements?

  • Wouldn't this question be better suited to the linguistics forum? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 15 '18 at 19:00
  • I don't know :) I am an English learner and this platform's name is English language learners. I thought that this forum was better, but if it is not, I can ask the same question there? – Jawel Jun 15 '18 at 19:08
  • All of these sentences are valid. But if you're interested specifically in whether those phrases are complements of the verb, that would be better asked on a linguistics forum. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 15 '18 at 19:13
  • He picked at his scabs ferociously. They hooted at the players for five minutes. action verbs with prepositional phrases....**She played dead during the game**. action verb with adjective..... – Lambie Apr 7 at 16:17
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We know that the complements of action verbs can be neither an adjective nor a prepositional phrase, but, it seems that that situation changes for linking verbs

Correct. Another term for these is "copular verbs" and there's a few of them, such as be, seem, feel, and others.

Do you also think that linking verbs can have adjective, prepositional phrases, noun complements?

They can.

I am hot.

I am at the park.

I am a dog.


English has a word order pattern - Subject, Verb, and X - and these patterns can be linked by relative pronouns or conjunctions, e.g. Subject, Verb, X that Subject, Verb X.

X would be "data about the verb." I don't know a good word for this other than predicate and it's probably the wrong word to use. With non-linking verbs X can be an object, which can then have a complement (called an object complement).

A verb complement would be "the arrangement of one verb as the object of another verb." (reference) So it's not correct to say the X in I am X is complementizing am, because it's complementizing or "completing the meaning " of I - it is doing this in all cases whether X is an adjective, prepositional phrase, or noun.

X can definitely be a noun complement. Read this.

Reference.

  • "Subject complement" is a little bit confusing for me. For example; I am at the park. "At the park" is the prepositional phrase complement of the verb "am", I am hot; "hot" is the predicate adjective referring to "subject" but it is still the complement of the verb "am" again. I am a dog; "a dog" is referring to the subject and called subject complement but it is still the complement of the verb again. Right? – Jawel Jun 15 '18 at 20:36
  • I'm leading you down the wrong path and about to make a major change to my answer. Give me a second ... – LawrenceC Jun 15 '18 at 20:44
  • There are still serious problems. First of all, we know that a prepositional phrase can't be the subject complement. Subject complements can be just nominative nouns and predicative adjectives, which is told by every grammar websites or books. In addition to this, everything that must come after the verb "be" must be a part of the verb "be". Because they are together and if you separate them, the meaning will be lost. I want to be happy. What can you say for "happy" ? If it is not a part of "be", so what is that? There is nothing for it to refer to there. – Jawel Jun 15 '18 at 21:30

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