I heard a man say:

He went ill and came back healthy.

Here ill and healthy are adjectives and qualify the subject, he.

And the sentence structure is:

sub + verb + adjective

Is it grammatically correct and how native speakers express this?

Thank you.

  • It's correct. But I would not say those adjectives function as complements. I would say they are predicative adjuncts. – user178049 Jul 7 '19 at 12:00
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    To sound natural, it should really be he left ill and came back healthy. The phrase went ill is generally used to mean became ill. We might say he took a bite and went ill, meaning that he took a bite, became nauseated, and threw up. – Jason Bassford Jul 7 '19 at 16:55
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    Was the man saying the person physically moved/traveled, and that he was sick when he left but then healthy when he came back? Or, is the man just trying to say the person got sick and then recovered? – TypeIA Jul 7 '19 at 19:02
  • @TypeIA actually the person physically traveled. – Kumar sadhu Jul 7 '19 at 21:51

It means "When he went he was ill. When he came back, he was healthy".

Grammatically the word ill is an adjective. It describes the subject. This is not a very common expression.

There is some ambiguity. The phrase "go ill" also means "become ill". I don't think this is the meaning here because "come back healthy" doesn't mean "become healthy". So "go" has its usual meaning of "travel (to some place)". He physically moved. This is the most natural reading given the (lack of) context.

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