In this sentence:

The waiter refused service

the subject `the waiter’ did not perpetrate any act upon `service’. So the noun `service’ is the complement in this sentence. It instructs the copular verb `refused’ in the content of the subject's act, which is `service refusal'.
Where there is a verb there can also be an adverb. There is no verb in copula and copular-verb sentences. There cannot, therefore, be an adverb in copular and copular-verb sentences.
(From: http://www.englishgrammartutor.com/The%20Parts%20Of%20Speech.htm#copular%20verb

Hello Casi (and anyone else who would care to comment),

I've taken the liberty of putting this in a new thread, as it would have vexingly entangled the danglers.

I too find this odd. 'Did not perpetrate any act' doesn't seem to me satisfactory; you could as easily say that the subject in any negative construction doesn't 'perpetrate an act' upon the object — e.g. 'the waiter didn't give service'. I would myself take 'service' as the object. But I'm happy to be corrected.

The 'adverb' sentence also seems strange. Couldn't we say:

'The waiter surlily refused service.'
'The waiter always refused service.'
'The waiter unusually refused service.'

1 2 3
I took a look at that site and found it decidedly quirky. A fair number of statements there show that the author has quite an idiosyncratic way of approaching grammar, not to mention that he has an axe to grind (in the final paragraphs). There may be a few interesting and creative ideas in it, but they are too undeveloped in their present state to rely on for any really good practical advice.

I would not recommend the site. There are many others which are better.
To be honest, I'm not all that convinced myself that 'refused' is 'coplular' (is that the correct term even?). A tried 'n true test-passivization-offers up conflicting results. The expectation, I believe, is that linking verbs when passivized generate ungrammaticality, and yet our example does not do what we expect:

Active: The waiter refused service.
Passive: Service was refused.

Moreover, if we add in an indirect object, it becomes all too clear that the subject is the doer, which means to say that 'refused' is not a linking verb:

Active: The waiter refused us service.
Passive: We were refused service (by the waiter).

Futhermore, even without the di-transitive structure, such as, say, She refused (to do) military service, the result is the same. 'refused' is non-linking.

Nevertheless, and aside from the above addition, the tutor brings up an interesting point, "There is no verb in copula and copular-verb sentences. There cannot, therefore, be an adverb in copular and copular-verb sentences." It's true, and yet it's false.

We are in the house.

'in the house' is a prepositional phrase in form, and it's an adverb in function because it answers the question, Where? But adverbs add to the meaning of verbs, other adverbs, and adjectives. (i) there isn't a verb. 'are' carries structural content; it lacks semantic content--or does it? (ii) there aren't any other adverbs. (iii) there isn't an adjective. So technically, an adverb, 'in the house' modifies a noun, 'We'. Hmm. It's true, and yet can that be?

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Hello Casi

This is an interesting question. I would say as follows:

1. We can't reasonably doubt that adverbs can modify the verb {'to be' = copula}, even if we reduce the sentence to the bare minimum:

a) 'Are you really you?' 'I really am me!'
b) 'He is poor' => 'he really is poor', 'he probably is poor'.

The adverb here denotes the degree of 'copularity' (e.g. 'it is probable that {he is poor} is true').

2. In your example, I would say that 'are' does have semantic content; it can't be replaced with an '=' sign:

a) 'We = in the house.' - ?

Instead, 'are' = 'to be located in space':

b) 'We are [located] in the house.'

'In the house' thus answers the question 'where are we positioned?'

It seems to me that 'to be' can always take an adverb, whatever its role or meaning. (Which means: 'I hope someone out there is now going to produce a 'to be' sentence to which no adverb can possibly be added'!)

Mr. P and Casi,

Take a look at this (from m-w.com)

1 a : to equal in meaning : have the same connotation as : SYMBOLIZE b : to have identity with c : to constitute the same class as d : to have a specified qualification or characterization e : to belong to the class of -- used regularly in senses 1a through 1e as the copula of simple predication
2 a : to have an objective existence : have reality or actuality : LIVE b : to have, maintain, or occupy a place, situation, or position c : to remain unmolested, undisturbed, or uninterrupted -- used only in infinitive form d : to take place : OCCUR e : to come or go f archaic : BELONG, BEFALL

Note that only "Meaning 1" is said to be a copula.
Meaning 2 includes the "locative use" of be.

Since a copular construction may contain an adjective, and adjectives can be modified by adverbs, the claim that copular constructions cannot contain adverbs is pure nonsense.

Thanks for that, CJ!

The little I've looked at of the site so far suggests a curious intergalactic parsing entity from M34 who (millennia hence) has lighted upon our devastated planet and attempted to reconstruct the primitive lingo of its long-dead inhabitants...Probably largely from dental records and a lone fluttering half-page of 'I Am John's Kidney'...
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Nice find, CalifJim! And yet, you should also be commended on proving the validity of the tutor's claim. Shame on you! SMILE

That there is a difference between copular BE and existential BE, or "the locative use" of BE, nicely supports the claim that there is no adverb in a copular construct because the claim does not address existential BE.

1a. Copular BE (No verb, no adverb)
God is love
God = love

1b. Existential BE (participle, albeit omitted, plus adverb) a.k.a the locative use of BE
God is here.
God is located here. (Wherein the adverb 'here' modifies the participle 'located')
Actually, I think that half-page is from Chomsky's The Minimalist Program!

Seriously, Mr. Pendantic, you are so clever at composing these humorous bits that you must let me know if and when you take your act on the road!

For my part, I'll be first in the queue when your 'Paradigm of the English Verb' comes out, CJ!
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