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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:26 pm 
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You know who you are, and you know why I have gathered you all here together. Don't think your little displays have gone unnoticed.

The cat is on the radiator.

In this sentence, is the prepositional phrase adjectival or adverbial? I go with adjectival because of what seems like a linking verb, but--not being able to find anything easily that answers this question--I'd rather humiliate myself here by asking than by screwing up with the client who is paying me to develop a grammar program.

Obviously in the following sentence it is adverbial.

The cat sleeps on the radiator.

Thanks for any help.

Carol


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:05 pm 
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I'm not well versed in this kind of analysis of language, even if I do write for a living (and have spent a large part of my working life correcting other people's writing).

But would consideration of these two sentences cast any light on the issue?

1) The cat is stupid.
2) The cat is foolishly.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:22 pm 
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StevieJ wrote:
I'm not well versed in this kind of analysis of language, even if I do write for a living (and have spent a large part of my working life correcting other people's writing).

But would consideration of these two sentences cast any light on the issue?

1) The cat is stupid.
2) The cat is foolishly.

Well, yes, I did that myself. But, ya know, this is English after all. Just want to avoid looking foolishly stupid, except among friends. :)

Carol


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:28 pm 
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cskinner wrote:
I'd rather humiliate myself here by asking than by screwing up with the client who is paying me to develop a grammar program.

They wasting they time. Grammar and Pap-paw don't even got a computer.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:11 pm 
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Dear Language Guy:

My cat persists in being on the radiator rather than being a gray tabby cat as cats are intended. It seems to be acting adverbial rather than adjectival. What am I to do? When it is on the radiator, is it an adjectival cat or an adverbial cat?

Perplexed in Chi-Town

Dear Perplexed,

The verb your cat is toying with is definitely not a linking verb. Whereas the verb to be can be a linking verb, when it is indicating location rather than state of being, it is an intransitive verb, and the prepositional phrase that follows is adverbial. Listen to your cat. This time, it is right.

And be happy that it is being adverbial on the radiator and not on your computer monitor.

Your Friend,
Language Guy

Edited to add a citation so you won't think I'm making this up. http://grammar.uoregon.edu/verbs/linking.html

Edited again to add a link to the homepage of this pretty good grammar site. http://grammar.uoregon.edu/

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:00 pm 
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Dear Language Guy:

I actually looked at that very site you posted a link for and scratched my head. Isn't an intransitive verb an action verb that doesn't take a direct object? Is is an action verb here? This, you see, was the very heart of the question.

I thought about the distinction that site makes between location and state of being and tried this out:

The cat is outside.
The cat is cold.

Certainly cold is an adjective here. Is outside so different?

Still Perplexed But Much Amused in Chi-Town

P.S. Walden, yer grammar will like this one enough to git herself a computer. I oughta know: she's my ma after all.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:00 pm 
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cskinner wrote:
The cat is outside.
The cat is cold.

Certainly cold is an adjective here. Is outside so different?


"The cat is cold."

Here, "cold" describes the cat. Similarly, in the phrase "My foot is pink," "pink" describes "my foot." Thus, this is an adjectival prepositional prase.

"The cat is outside."

Here, outside does not describe the cat, it describes how the cat is. "Outside" describes "is," not the cat. Thus, it is adverbial.

That's the best I can do.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:11 pm 
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Yeah, that makes sense. Outside isn't intrinsic to the cat.

As Mr. Language Guy points out, location just must be its own thing. So we are going with adverbial, are we?

Thanks!

Carol


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:23 pm 
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I have learned about verbs as showing action (to jump), occurence (to glow) or a state of being (to exist).

Then I did not learn about intransitive verbs as having to do with action or inaction. I just think of them as having only one argument---a subject. A verb could be transitive, intransitive, or a linking verb depending on how it is used---but it just has to do with how many arguments it has---subject, direct object, etc.

So, I would think of "is" in this sentence as showing a state of being, being an intransitive verb, and being modified by the prepositional phrase "on the radiator" functioning as an adverbial because it tells us where the cat exists. If you said "Cats exist on Mars." I think it would be about the same situation.

This could be all wrong. I had to review a lot :lol: so who knows? But it is interesting. Wikipedia seemed pretty helpful, but I'm not sure how reliable.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:03 am 
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Cynth, that's my understanding of it, as well.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:28 am 
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Except you managed to say it in less than half the number of words! :lol: But actually I'm glad to know that my steps sound right since I had to work through it so slowly.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:34 am 
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cskinner wrote:
You know who you are, and you know why I have gathered you all here together. Don't think your little displays have gone unnoticed.

The cat is on the radiator.

In this sentence, is the prepositional phrase adjectival or adverbial? I go with adjectival because of what seems like a linking verb, but--not being able to find anything easily that answers this question--I'd rather humiliate myself here by asking than by screwing up with the client who is paying me to develop a grammar program.

Obviously in the following sentence it is adverbial.

The cat sleeps on the radiator.

Thanks for any help.

Carol


I don't know nuthin about no grammar, but that cat better get off the radiator before I start the car.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 7:16 pm 
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So I deliberately stay away from desultory browsing and forum scanning to allow time to get some actual paying work done, and lo and behold, my name is called while I'm out of the room.

Good thing, too, in a way: while I am flattered at being included with those who may actually know their P's from their Q's, nay, even their pluperfects from their plenipotentiaries, answering such a serious and worth query would no doubt reveal me for the pretentious and un-credentialled (two L's or one with your ending?) poseur I really am.

It's (apostrophe deliberate this time) easy to sound smart when you pick your battles, and have recourse to multiple online resources. I only aspire to a simulacrum of smartness, having long since eschewed real smartness as simply to difficult to achieve.

That said, from the safe position standing behind (or below, in the case of threads) better eddicated and perceptive minds than mine, yon phrase certainly don't describe in-hair-ent properties of hypothetical kitty, thus it will, smiling adverbially, disappear--leaving behind only a tail of a doubt about its (apostrophe left out deliberately) state of being. Hoo-boy, my how he do go on.

Thank you though for including me with such august company -- my delusions of my own air-ew-dishun are strengthened. (Smiles, disappears)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:07 pm 
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Paul Thomas wrote:
I only aspire to a simulacrum of smartness, having long since eschewed real smartness as simply to difficult to achieve.

I think you have confused to with too, my good fellow. It should read, and correct me if I am mistaken, "I only aspire too a simulacrum of smartness, having long since eschewed real smartness as simply to difficult too achieve."

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 2:03 am 
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Walden wrote:
Paul Thomas wrote:
I only aspire to a simulacrum of smartness, having long since eschewed real smartness as simply to difficult to achieve.

I think you have confused to with too, my good fellow. It should read, and correct me if I am mistaken, "I only aspire too a simulacrum of smartness, having long since eschewed real smartness as simply to difficult too achieve."

You are two kind sir, and you confuse me with a good fellow ("Who was that good fellow?" "That was no good fellow, that was Paul Thomas!").

If I spend two much time typing, I don't have to much time left four thinking. I can't combine the too of them, QED (dozen't that mean for thymes a day?).

In short, if it's the only thing I've confused, it's a red-letter day (or at least a moveable feast: Witsuntied. Party at my place, going on until Toosday. Don't give your right name, no no no.)

Ode to his lost wits, for PT's sake:
-----------------------------------
To wit, too who? It's wit I woo -
Left at the altar again, Boo hoo.
Faux pas and lacunae, he's only a runt
of grammatical stature: cetera desunt.


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