Stay awake, is awake here an adjective? my dictionary says so! but it sounds like an adverb.

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    Sounds like ... adverb? How? – Maulik V Mar 12 '16 at 11:01
  • I don't think it would be an adverb here, seems like a simple adjective. It could be reworded as "Remain in a state of not sleeping". Consider that you could substitute any adjective for awake and have it still make sense: "Stay happy", "Stay awesome", "Stay asleep". – John Clifford Mar 12 '16 at 11:01
  • I know that an adjective describe a noun, but here stay is a verb and it makes sense, at least to me, that awake is an adverb that describes the state one is in. – Sara Naseem Mar 12 '16 at 11:07
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    If you aren't going to listen to people telling you it's not, why did you post the question in the first place? :P – John Clifford Mar 12 '16 at 11:15

"Awake, alive, asleep etc" are predicative adjectives, ie they can only be used after linking/copula verbs like to be and similar verbs. They can't be used before a noun.

The prefix a- was originally a preposition like in, on or of. Asleep means in (the state of) sleep.


By the way there are several prefixes a- with different meanings eg anormal meaning not normal. http://www.yourdictionary.com/a#websters


The underlying meaning of stay and remain is "continue to be" and so they function like copular verbs, which connect an adjective (or other noun complement) to a subject.

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