This is a discussion thread · 12 replies
(1) Many teachers seem to agree that in sentences such as these, the adverb does modify the copula (linking verb):
They SLOWLY BECAME rich.
The soup SUDDENLY TASTED strange.
She QUICKLY GREW angry.
(2) Some teachers say that it depends on the meaning of your sentence:
(a) What does "yesterday" modify in "She didn't seem angry yesterday"?
(i) This is an analysis that someone whom I trust gave me.
(a) It was HE who seemed angry yesterday, but SHE didn't seem angry yesterday.
(i) The stress is on "she." There is no stress on "yesterday." So "yesterday" modifies the whole sentence.
(b) Why is she so angry TODAY? She didn't seem angry YESTERDAY!
(i) The stress is on "yesterday," which compares it with another day. So "yesterday" is within the sentence. That is, it can be said to modify the verb.
(3) I believe that most high school teachers, however, do not expect their students to do such an analysis. So I think that they simply analyze the adverb as modifying the verb. The important thing for high school students is to learn using adjectives ( not adverbs) as complements of copulas.
(4) Hopefully, someone else will give us a better answer.
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They became slowly rich.
The soup tasted suddenly strange.
She grew quickly angry.
What do you think?
Rich, strange and angry are all relatively stable conditions; it is the action of the verb that varies in speed/transformation/intensity.
Approved answer (verified by Mister Micawber)
AnonymousSome experts say that adverbs (of time, place, etc.) can modify linking verbs; other experts feel that linking verbs cannot be modified by adverbs.It seems to me that it depends on what you consider modification, what you consider a linking verb, and which linking verb you're talking about. Volumes have been written on these topics, and I don't foresee the issues being resolved here.
Quite often the linking verb be simply connects a subject to what is predicated of that subject. It's a place-holder required by English grammar which often has little or no meaning of its own.
This coat is red.
If you don't distinguish between modification and complementation, then I suppose you think that "red" in some way modifies the meaning of "is". But "is" has only structural meaning here, so it's hard to conceptualize "red" as somehow modifying that "meaning". I would say that "red" is a complement, not a modifier -- much in the same way that "letter" is not a modifier of "sent" in I sent them a letter. It's a complement.
The coat is on the chair.
Here a location rather than a property (a color) is predicated of a coat. Again I would say that "on the chair" has no role as a modifier of "is". This is an example of another use of be -- to indicate a location. Therefore it has a complement that signifies a location.
The coat is here.
Here the locational phrase is reduced to a single adverb, but I don't see "here" as a modifier of anything. It's simply a complement in the location usage of be.
This red coat is always here.
Now we have an adverb that modifies, but I think it's a sentential adverb (as opposed to a verb-phrase adverb). I read it as "It is always the case that this red coat is here". After all, there is no such location as "always here". I'd say that always modifies the whole sentence. It doesn't modify "is" or "here" (or even "red" or "coat").
When you switch to inchoative linking verbs like become, you have another situation. Now you have a change taking place so it's perfectly possible to have plenty of different adverbs that can modify the verb phrase, some of them already mentioned in previous posts. The room became cold very quickly.
It seems to me that each example involving linking verbs and adverbs has a little trick of its own to be considered.
Are all action verbs. This is why they can be modified by adverbs even if they are being used in an abstract thought.
So 1 teacher = how many ordinary experts?
a) Mary is in the garden.
b) Mary walked in the garden.
The adverbial is "in the garden."
So, in ( a), does it modify the sentence or the verb?
It is an adverbial complement, because the sentence is ill=formed without it.
adverbial complements are both part of the argument structure construction and stored as information regarding the verb itself.
So by example, we have a linking verb with a adverbial complement, which "modifies" (complements) the verb. But, if you read the prior posts, the word "modify" is grammatically somewhat outdated, and the subject is rather subject to debate..
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