He walked off embarrassed and sad. (I can't remember where I found this sentence as I then just noted it without citing the source to ask later).

'Embarrassed' and 'sad' are functioning as Subjective complement? But as far as I'm aware, Subjective complements usually come after linking verbs or after certain types of verb.

If it's a participle clause modifying the whole sentence, then can we rewrite it as

Embarrassed and Sad, he walked off ?

What if he was just sad not embarrassed, then will it be correct to write it as

He walked off Sad ; Sad, he walked off ; and he walked off sadly?

So, the three questions I have asked are:

  1. Are those two words subjective complement?

  2. Is it a participle clause modifying the whole sentence?

  3. Can the sentence be changed to aforementioned sentences? If not, please give the reason too.

(These three questions are interrelated So I thought it'd be better to just ask it at one go).

1 Answer 1

  1. Yes, the two words are subjective compliments. "He" is the subject, and 'embarrassed' and 'sad' describe him. They don't describe his walk.

  2. Yes, it is an example of a participle clause. There is no specified tense for the two adjectives - the tense is indicated by the verb in the main clause.

  3. You could certainly put the adjectives first - most examples of participle clauses are written that way, for example:

Embarrassed and sad, he walked away.

Your last example of "he walked away sadly" is not quite right. Using the adverb 'sadly' would refer to his walk, not him. Arguably, a person with a sad walk is probably sad themselves. But grammatically, it isn't the same.

  • 1
    And you consider "walked off" a linking (copular) verb in this sentence, correct? I think OP was thrown by the fact that it usually isn't used that way. Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 17:13
  • @MarcInManhattan Yes of course... 'walked off', meaning they left the scene, is extremely common in British English. I don't perceive that the question is about that at all, the OP is quite clear in bullet-pointing their questions.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 7:41
  • @Astralbee I really couldn't get how 'walked off' was linking verb. But I think now I should have mentioned it in the first bullet-pointed question. Since It was used in the sense of 'leaving' that's why we can take it as a linking verb? And, my another question was if He was just sad and not embarrassed can we say 'He walked off Sad' ? As Sad is also a predicative adjective.
    – RADS
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 11:15

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