I need your collective opinion(s).
Apologies in advance for the length of the post, but a question has arisen at my work over the use of predicate adjectives. (We are legal writers, if that provides any context).
The sentence in question goes something like this (I don't have it directly in front of me):
"The sentences were to be served consecutively with each other."

Someone has suggested that "consecutively" should be "consecutive". Their position was that "to be served consecutive" is functionally the same as "to be consecutive" and that "consecutive" is therefore a predicate adjective with "were to be (served)" acting as the "copulative" (or, as I was taught, the linking) verb.

I have a few thoughts on the matter, and invite you to disabuse me of my notions.
First, the prepositional phrase "with each other" or "to each other" or "to one another", etc. should not affect the choice between using an adverb or predicate adjective. It is in some sense superfluous.

I accept that if the sentence were to be written as "The sentences were to be consecutive," then "were to be" is a linking verb and that "consecutive" is therefore a predicate adjective, not requiring the use of the adverb ending "-ly". When using the predicate adjective, we are describing the subject of the sentence "The sentences" not the verb itself. Or as the proponent of using the adjective put it, there is quite a difference between the phrases "I feel good," and "I feel well."

However, if the verb "served" is added back into the mix, i.e., "The sentences were to be served consecutive(ly)," then it is my humble opinion that a predicate adjective is no longer called for, because "consecutive(ly)" is now describing the manner in which the sentences are to be served, not describing the sentences themselves.

The proponent of the adjective, on the other hand, insists that because "served" is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence, its use does not change the fact that the verb-phrase is still acting "copulatively," requiring the use of the predicate adjective.
Thoughts?
J.G.B.
(who hasn't been lurking in these parts in many months).
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I need your collective opinion(s). Apologies in advance for the length of the post, but a question has arisen at ... this (I don't have it directly in front of me): "The sentences were to be served consecutively with each other."

Well, first "with each other" is really unfortunate. It is hard to know what "consecutive(ly) with" mean. "With" suggests concurrent(ly). So I would say this sentence is up to no good in the beginning.
Someone has suggested that "consecutively" should be "consecutive". Their position was that "to be served consecutive" is functionally the same ... a predicate adjective with "were to be (served)" acting as the "copulative" (or, as I was taught, the linking) verb.

The meaning "to be consectutive" and "to be served consecutively" may be nearly the same, but that doesn't make them "functionally equivalent" - whatever that may mean.

"Were to be served" is not a copulative verb. If the "served" is in there, it has to be "consecutively."
I have a few thoughts on the matter, and invite you to disabuse me of my notions. First, the prepositional ... another", etc. should not affect the choice between using an adverb or predicate adjective. It is in some sense superfluous.

In a rather loose interpretation of "with each other," it is redundant. Otherwise, "with each other" and "consecutively" are at loggerheads, and it is nonsense. If the sentences are consecutive, they are not with each other, but one after the other. If they are with each other, they are concurrent, and not consecutive.
I accept that if the sentence were to be written as "The sentences were to be consecutive," then "were to ... using the adjective put it, there is quite a difference between the phrases "I feel good," and "I feel well."

Well, actually, this is not so clear. There is a clear difference between "I smell good" and "I smell well."
However, if the verb "served" is added back into the mix, i.e., "The sentences were to be served consecutive(ly)," then ... because "consecutive(ly)" is now describing the manner in which the sentences are to be served, not describing the sentences themselves.

It comes down to:
The sentences were to be consecutive.
The sentences were to be served consecutively.
But not:
The sentences were to be served consecutive.
The proponent of the adjective, on the other hand, insists that because "served" is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence, its use does not change the fact that the verb-phrase is still acting "copulatively," requiring the use of the predicate adjective.

That is just nonsense. It is true that the two sentences with different structures mean (roughly) the same thing. It doesn't follow that you can graft part of the structure of one onto the other.
In one case we can take the sentence out of the passive voice:

He(She) was to serve the sentences consecutively.
We can even make "consecutively" into an adjective.

He(She) was to serve the consecutive sentences.
Thus if you have to have the adjective "consecutive," the correct transformation back to passive voice is:
The consecutive sentences were to be served. (Which is somewhat pointless since the idea of sentences, if not suspended, is that they are to be served.)
Thoughts?

Sometimes it is best to recast.

Lars Eighner (Email Removed) http://www.io.com/~eighner / "Books are like a mirror. If an ass looks in, you can't expect an angel to look out." Arthur Schopenhauer
Dear JGB,
In my rather silly opinion, both are possible, but you've got the weight of usage behind you. If you Google searched for pages that have the phrase "served consecutively" but don't have the phrase "served consecutive ", you'll get about ten times more hits than vice versa.

Many of those instances of "served consecutive " will be using "consecutive" as an adverb. Some might even be using "consecutive with" or "consecutive to" as a preposition. But presumably you want an answer dealing with dictionary-recognised usages, where "consecutively" is always the adverb and "consecutive" is always an adjective.

Well, "served consecutively" is obviously possible; I'm unsure how it could be argued that it isn't. But I think "served consecutive", with "consecutive" a predicative adjective, is defensible though on other grounds than your colleague suggests.
Try this argument. It's possible to paint the town red or strike someone dead or bake the bread hard. In these phrases, "red", "dead" and "hard" are predicative adjectives rather than adverbs, and their syntax carries a meaning of something like "so as to be" I struck someone so that he became dead. Well, if you accept that, then I think it's arguable that you can serve sentences so that they become consecutive though, on the other hand, it might also be argued that it's not the serving that makes the sentences consecutive, but the judge's ruling.
Your colleague's argument bewilders me. Is the line of reasoning, "In this context, 'to be' and 'to be served' are semantically identical, and therefore they are syntactically identical?" If so, then, in a formal English context, that seems to me to rest on a number of false premises, including the idea that "to be" and "to be served" are semantically identical, and including the idea that syntax is wholly determined by semantics.
==
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VI
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Dear JGB, In my rather silly opinion, both are possible, but you've got the weight of usage behind you. If ... "served consecutively" but don't have the phrase "served consecutive ", you'll get about ten times more hits than vice versa.

Ah, yes. The first thing I did after looking in a few usage guides (Fowler, mostly) was to do a Google search on usage. Of course, it appears I am up against a prescriptivist, not a descriptivist. So usage appears to be on my side.
Many of those instances of "served consecutive " will be using "consecutive" as an adverb. Some might even be using ... I think "served consecutive", with "consecutive" a predicative adjective, is defensible though on other grounds than your colleague suggests.

I've written it using the adverb for quite some time, and this is the first objection I've had.
Try this argument. It's possible to paint the town red or strike someone dead or bake the bread hard. In ... "to be" and "to be served" are semantically identical, and including the idea that syntax is wholly determined by semantics.

Well, I'll quote a bit:
"The sentence imposed yesterday shall be (served) concurrent with the previously imposed sentence. Note that the omission of the word served* does not affect the basic meaning; the word *served even seems redundant, since what does normally happen after a sentence has been imposed?
Omission of served* leaves *shall be*, the future of the verb *be*, a copulative verb which requires a predicate adjective. *Shall be served concurrent with* and *shall be concurrent mean the same thing."
As I stated, I understand that, without the verb "served", you need the predicate adjective, but if you use it, it appears to be describing "served" by use of the adjective, which sound funny to my "ears."

I appreciate your input,
Jon
I need your collective opinion(s). Apologies in advance for the length of the post, but a question has arisen at ... this (I don't have it directly in front of me): "The sentences were to be served consecutively with each other."

This sentence makes no sense.
"The sentences were to be served consecutively" or "The sentences were to be served concurrently (with each other)" make sense. As your text stands, it is similar to "The two girls were each prettier than the other."
Someone has suggested that "consecutively" should be "consecutive". Their position was that "to be served consecutive" is functionally the same ... a predicate adjective with "were to be (served)" acting as the "copulative" (or, as I was taught, the linking) verb.

"Serve" is not a copulative verb. This is a normal English passive construction from a transitive verb serve. Your colleague is creative, but wrong. If he thinks the wording should be "The sentences were to be consecutive," then that is what he should write.
I have a few thoughts on the matter, and invite you to disabuse me of my notions. First, the prepositional ... another", etc. should not affect the choice between using an adverb or predicate adjective. It is in some sense superfluous.

It is not superfluous. It transforms a sentence that makes sense into one that does not.
I need your collective opinion(s). Apologies in advance for the ... "The sentences were to be served consecutively with each other."

This sentence makes no sense. "The sentences were to be served consecutively" or "The sentences were to be served concurrently (with each other)" make sense. As your text stands, it is similar to "The two girls were each prettier than the other."

Leave it to me to make a mistake that detracts from the question I was trying to ask. The sentence should read "concurrently with each other" not "consecutively with each other". (Or "consecutively to the other").
Someone has suggested that "consecutively" should be "consecutive". Their position ... the "copulative" (or, as I was taught, the linking) verb.

"Serve" is not a copulative verb. This is a normal English passive construction from a transitive verb serve. Your colleague is creative, but wrong. If he thinks the wording should be "The sentences were to be consecutive," then that is what he should write.

Yes, I know that "serve" is not a linking verb. But I'm glad to hear that you think as I do, i.e., just because you can drop "serve" and be left with a copulative verb doesn't mean that even with the "serve" you need a predicate adjective.
I have a few thoughts on the matter, and invite ... adverb or predicate adjective. It is in some sense superfluous.

It is not superfluous. It transforms a sentence that makes sense into one that does not.

Again, that was my fault for not typing the correct sentence to begin with. But, you've still answered the question I was trying to ask.

Thanks,
Jon
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I need your collective opinion(s). Apologies in advance for the ... "The sentences were to be served consecutively with each other."

Well, first "with each other" is really unfortunate. It is hard to know what "consecutive(ly) with" mean. "With" suggests concurrent(ly). So I would say this sentence is up to no good in the beginning.

Mea culpa. I should have typed "concurrently" with (or consecutively to).
Someone has suggested that "consecutively" should be "consecutive". Their position ... the "copulative" (or, as I was taught, the linking) verb.

The meaning "to be consectutive" and "to be served consecutively" may be nearly the same, but that doesn't make them ... "Were to be served" is not a copulative verb. If the "served" is in there, it has to be "consecutively."

I'm glad those who have responded here (so far) have agreed with me. The way I see it, with "were to be served" you need an adverb to describe how the sentences are to be served. With "were to be," you have a copulative/linking verb that needs a predicate adjective.
I have a few thoughts on the matter, and invite ... adverb or predicate adjective. It is in some sense superfluous.

In a rather loose interpretation of "with each other," it is redundant. Otherwise, "with each other" and "consecutively" are at ... with each other, but one after the other. If they are with each other, they are concurrent, and not consecutive.

Again, this is my fault. Concurrent(ly) is the word I should've used. As written, it doesn't make much sense.
I accept that if the sentence were to be written ... between the phrases "I feel good," and "I feel well."

Well, actually, this is not so clear. There is a clear difference between "I smell good" and "I smell well."

Well, how about "He grows strong" vs. "He grows strongly". Emotion: smile

Yes! I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't see the logic in the argument of the proponent of the predicate adjective.
In one case we can take the sentence out of the passive voice: He(She) was to serve the sentences consecutively. ... served. (Which is somewhat pointless since the idea of sentences, if not suspended, is that they are to be served.)

Thoughts?

Sometimes it is best to recast.

I agree. However, the "controversy" at work made me wonder what you all would think. So far, I'm glad to see, you tend to agree with me.

Many thanks,
Jon
"The sentences were to be served consecutively with each other." Someone has suggested that "consecutively" should be "consecutive". Their position ... a predicate adjective with "were to be (served)" acting as the "copulative" (or, as I was taught, the linking) verb.

It is true that "to be consecutive" and "to be served consecutively" mean the same thing. But so what? they're different grammatical constructions.
I have a few thoughts on the matter, and invite you to disabuse me of my notions. First, the prepositional ... another", etc. should not affect the choice between using an adverb or predicate adjective. It is in some sense superfluous.

s/some/every/
It may even be worse than superfluous. "Consecutively with each other" could be taken to mean "A then B then A then B and so on".
I accept that if the sentence were to be written as "The sentences were to be consecutive," then "were to be" is a linking verb and that "consecutive" is therefore a predicate adjective, not requiring the use of the adverb ending "-ly".

Yup.
However, if the verb "served" is added back into the mix, i.e., "The sentences were to be served consecutive(ly)," then ... because "consecutive(ly)" is now describing the manner in which the sentences are to be served, not describing the sentences themselves.

Yup.
The proponent of the adjective, on the other hand, insists that because "served" is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence, its use does not change the fact that the verb-phrase is still acting "copulatively," requiring the use of the predicate adjective. Thoughts?

Your friend seems to think that grammar is a matter of what words might have been used instead of the words that were used. That's nearly never true, certainly not in this instance.

Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA http://oakroadsystems.com /
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