It is helpful to pinch your nose closed when you have to swallow something that tastes yucky, like cough syrup.

In this sentence, how should I understand the word "closed" is it adverb or adjective? I do not think "your nose (which is) closed..

  • "Closed" is clearly an adjective since it describes the state of one's nose after pinching it. Its function in the clause is that of complement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 8:18
  • I think you're confusing the past tense of the verb "to close", closed = shut, with the adverbs "closely" and "close" = referring to something under careful scrutiny or a short distance.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


The word closed is an adjective, describing the state of your nose after pinching. The structure is called resultative:

Wikipedia "resulative"
"In linguistics, a resultative (abbreviated RES) is a form that expresses that something or someone has undergone a change in state as the result of the completion of an event. Resultatives appear as predicates of sentences, and are generally composed of a verb (denoting the event), a post-verbal noun phrase (denoting the entity that has undergone a change) and a so-called resultative phrase (denoting the state achieved as the result of the action named by the verb) which may be represented by an adjective, a prepositional phrase, or a particle, among others. For example, in the English sentence The man wiped the table clean, the adjective clean denotes the state achieved by the table as a result of the event described as the man wiped."

(emphasis added)

In your example, the verb is "pinched", the noun phrase is "your nose", and the resultative phrase (an adjective) is "closed".

  • 1
    It's an optional predicative in that it relates to a predicand, "nose", and it can be omitted with no loss of grammaticality. Its function is that of resultative complement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 12:05

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