I have seen this sentence somewhere.

she came undone

I take this in as putting together an intransitive verb and an adjective(or a participle) so as to describe state of a subject.

and likewise, I tried a few other variations,

so are followings weird in your sense?

If it sounds weird, can you explain the reason?

she arrives dry.

she walks wet.

she lived stealing.

she drinks unsatisfied.

she sits angry.

she stands hungry.

  • Except the first two, I found all the others a bit weird
    – Dawny33
    Jun 21, 2016 at 11:15
  • so in your opinion, only the intransitive verbs refering to movement are allowed in such a use?
    – JBL
    Jun 21, 2016 at 11:18
  • My knowledge of grammar is limited. I'm just commenting, based on intuition. Even She lived unsatisfied would makes sense too :)
    – Dawny33
    Jun 21, 2016 at 11:22

2 Answers 2


A "predicate adjective" is an adjective that describes the subject, and where the verb is a verb that indicates status or change in status or apparent status.

For example, you can say, "She is angry." "Is" indicates a status; "angry" is the status.

You can say, "She became angry." Again, "angry" is the status. "Became" indicates a change in status, here presumably from not-angry to angry. Also, "She seemed angry". Maybe she wasn't actually angry, but this was her apparent status.

You cannot generally use a predicate adjective with other sorts of verbs. You cannot say, "She lived angry", because "lived" does not call for a status. You could say "She lived angrily" or "She lived with her anger", or many other possible wordings to say that anger was a constant state in her life.

"She walks wet" is really borderline. Fluent speakers do say things like that. Like, "Sally climbed out of the swimming pool and walked across the yard wet." It's strained grammatically but we know what you mean: she walked, and she was wet. Similarly you could say "She entered the room angry", that is, when she entered the room, she was angry.

  • But 'Jim sat naked [on the couch]' and 'He fell dead [at her feet]', which use subject-oriented adjectives, are by no means grammatically strained. Dec 12, 2019 at 13:11
  • @EdwinAshworth Good point. Those are like my "She walks wet" example.I concede that I don't know what the general rule there is and yield to someone who does.
    – Jay
    Dec 12, 2019 at 15:24
  • Often, padding (which can be 'internal', ie a longer adjective) has a disconcertingly large effect on acceptability. ?/??Jim sat naked. BUT Jim sat there/naked on the couch. ......??/*Jeff and Jackie sat tired upon the living room sofa. BUT Jeff and Jackie sat exhausted upon the living room sofa. Dec 12, 2019 at 16:12

Hmm, I'll try to comment.

so are followings weird in your sense?


Firstly, any short phrase usually makes little sense outside of some context (unless it's a well-established idiom).


Your "she sits angry" taken on its own is absolutely weird (although, definitely understandable :) )

However, when the same combination of words is used in a sentence like:

"I lost my temper and said the words I shouldn't have said, so there she sits - angry, pretending she's not offended in the slightest but..." and so on.

The same combination becomes perfectly OK, doesn't it?

If it sounds weird, can you explain the reason?

Secondly, a live language can not be narrowed down to "an intransitive verb and an adjective(or a participle) so as to describe state of a subject" kind of rules. Some words go well together, while others just don't. What's the exact criteria - difficult to tell (and my post is too long already)..

  • "It sounds/tastes/smells etc. weird" is another cup of tea altogether, don't you think so?
    – Victor B.
    Jun 22, 2016 at 20:51

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