I just answered a question on stack overflow : https://stackoverflow.com/questions/57920126/how-to-make-sense-of-this-scala-stacktrace/57920452#57920452

In my answer, I used the terms "subject verb object" to identify parts of a compilation error, but I'm not quite sure that's correct.

In particular, I'm very hesitant to call a verb the whole group of words "cannot be applied to".

Is my usage of those three words correct ? If not, how should I correct it ?

  • I'd say "verb phrase" is more appropriate, but looks good otherwise.
    – JRodge01
    Sep 13, 2019 at 12:23
  • Ok, thank you :-) Feel free to write that as an answer !
    – C4stor
    Sep 13, 2019 at 12:29
  • It's part of a verb phrase. What is the rest of the phrase?
    – BillJ
    Sep 13, 2019 at 12:30
  • @BillJ It is much more constructive if you add to the discussion instead of being coy. A verb phrase can either be the collection of words that are the verb, or it can be the entire predicate. Since in context we're splitting out the object from the rest of the verb phrase, the former can be inferred.
    – JRodge01
    Sep 13, 2019 at 12:37
  • @JRodge01 Coy? What are you talking about? FYI a verb phrase is a verb + its dependents (if any), usually functioning as predicate of a clause. In the OP's example, "cannot be applied to" is not the full VP, since the complement of "to" is missing; which is what I was asking the OP for. Clear now?
    – BillJ
    Sep 13, 2019 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


A narrowly defined "verb phrase" would identify what you said was a "verb". Your "subject" and "object" are both correct. From Wikipedia's entry on "verb phrase":

Verb phrases are sometimes defined more narrowly in scope, in effect counting only those elements considered strictly verbal in verb phrases.

So to be more correct, you could have identified the "subject", "verb phrase", and "object".

  • Ok, it makes sense. From what I understand from your link, verb isn't incorrect in the context, but verb phrase could have been more precise. Thank you :-)
    – C4stor
    Sep 13, 2019 at 13:43

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