They were crushed to death in the accident.

In this case, is the preposition phrase(to death) a subject complement or an adjunct?

It is hard to distinguish both.

If neither isn't correct, what does the PP function?

  • They are complement of verb. Semantically they are state goal. Syntactically they are locative complement. Sep 24, 2021 at 2:31
  • @Man_From_India one more question. "We were deeply moved to tears at a horrific scenes. " in this sentence, is also a preposition phrase "to tears" a locative complement?
    – bak1936
    Sep 24, 2021 at 5:55
  • 1
    @bak1936 A complement of "moved", but state not locative.
    – BillJ
    Sep 24, 2021 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


They were crushed to death in the accident.

The phrase "to death" is a preposition phrase describing the result of the crushing. It isn't a subject complement because death is a noun, not an adjective that can describe the subject. It is also an adjunct, since it can be removed from the sentence without making it ungrammatical. The only effect of removing it is to remove the description of the result.

If you say "They were crushed flat.", that is an adjective that is a resultative adjunct, describing their condition after being crushed.

  • I have a question. In a sentence "She's very conventional in her views", what does the pp function? someone said it is an adjective complement. I think even If the pp is removed, the sentence is grammatically correct. In another example, A bus is full of people. I'm not sure but I know the pp(of people) is an adjective phrase. what do you think?
    – bak1936
    Sep 24, 2021 at 7:46
  • "in her views" is an adjunct that specifies how she is conventional, that is, it qualifies the adjective. The same is true for "of people" qualifying the adjective "full". Sep 24, 2021 at 7:52
  • Jack O'flaherty one more question.! So is the pp(of people) an adverb phrase?
    – bak1936
    Sep 24, 2021 at 8:02
  • Yes, I think it's in the category of adverbial, since it modifies an adjective. Sep 24, 2021 at 17:01
  • I agree with you partly. Still, I'm confused thinking this sentence. " he prevent me from swimming in the sea. what does the pp "from swimming" function? I don't know how I grasp the pp.
    – bak1936
    Sep 25, 2021 at 1:15

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