How do you feel about the sentences below? Which one sounds natural? Or do they both sound weird?
[1] The smith hammered the metal flat hot.
[2] The smith hammered the metal hot flat.
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Hi Paco,

They both sound very odd! I don't get the meaning clearly. I suggest you try to say it another way.

[1] The smith hammered the metal flat hot.
[2] The smith hammered the metal hot flat.


PS If Japanese dogs bow-wow, do Chinese dogs kow-tow? (Ha-ha)
Hi Clive

Thank you for the reply. They both sound odd to you. Huurm… actually I found this sentence in a grammar article written by Japanese scholars of the English language studies, where they discussed SVOC patterns to be read as resultiatve and depictive constructions. They say [1] is right and [2] is wrong but gives no reason to it. It is why I am asking the question above. But if they both are wrong sentences, there is no way to discuss about them.

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Hello, Paco.

What does "metal flat" mean in your sentences, pelase? Is "flat" a noun, does anything called a "metal flat" exist? Or is "flat" an adjective used to describe part of the result of hammering a piece of metal?

Thanks in advance,

Hello Miriam

I don't know the exact sense of "The smith hammered the metal flat hot", but as for "The smith hammered the metal flat", I understand that the sense is "The smith hammered the metal until it became flat".

best regards

I think [url=http://www.icsi.berkeley.edu/~kay/bcg/II-Pred.html ] this article[/url] is not bad to see an overall picture of secondary predicate uses.


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1] The smith hammered the metal flat hot. If I had to try to find a meaning here, I would see the smith (normally, 'blacksmith') hammering the metal until it was flat, while it was hot. It does sound, and particularly look, odd.

[2] The smith hammered the metal hot flat. Here, I see the blacksmith hammering the flat metal until it becomes hot.

They say [1] is right and [2] is wrong Well, semantically, I guess 1 seems possible while 2 seems pretty strange.

I don't know what the terms resultative and depictive mean, although I got some Google hits on them. I guess they relate to constructions like the above with adjectives.

I'm just trying to think about this. Call the first Adjective A, and the second Adjective B. A is the result of the verb. B describes the noun 'during the verb-process'.

She burned the dinner black = Adjective A

She made herself sick = Adjective A

She went to bed angry = Adjective B, but it describes her, not the bed. So maybe it was the smith who was 'hot' (or 'flat'!?)

The ship sailed the ocean blue = Adjective B

Is that the kind of thing you have in mind? I guess other examples are possible of putting A and B together, but I have sat here thinking for five minutes and I can't produce one. Perhaps it's just too late at night for my brain.

What other examples do you have?

Hello Clive

They give only this one as the example of doubled complement constructions. I parsed it as "The smith hammered the metal into a plate while it was still hot". But I am not sure. What do you take as its sense if you are forced to interpret it?


I take the same meaning as you do.

Did you read my earlier reply? Part of what I tried to say there was that you could interpet the grammar in example 2 the same way. In other words, the grammar would be correct but the meaning would be odd.

How about 'she burned the meat black sick'? = The fire made the meat black. She was sick while she did it. (Not a wonderful example, but it's a difficult construction to think of)

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