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Structural classification of the predicate


§ 47. From the structural point of view there are two main types of predicate: the simple predicate and the compound predicate. Both these types may be either nominal or verbal, which gives four sub-groups: simple verbal, simple nominal, compound verbal, compound nominal. Compound verbal predicates may be further classified into phasal, modal and of double orientation Compound nominal predicates may be classified into nominal proper and double nominal.

The simple predicate

The simple verbal predicate

§ 48. The simple verbal predicate is expressed by:


1. A verb in a synthetic or analytical form.


John runs quickly.

I was sent in to get my tea.

Perhaps you will even remember that woman.

When did life begin on earth?

I didn’t care about the consequence.

Don’t come too late.


2. A verb phrase (a phraseological equivalent of a verb denoting one action).


Here belong:


a) Phrases denoting single actions:

to have a look, to have a smoke, to have a talk, to give a look, to give a laugh, to give a cry, to take a

look, to make a move, to make a remark, to pay a visit, etc.


They comprise a transitive verb and a deverbal noun with the indefinite article.


Nurse Sharp gave him a look and walked out.

The man gave a violent start.

Did you have a sleep?

It’s time we were making a move.


b) Phrases denoting various kinds of actions. In most cases they comprise an abstract noun used with no

article but often preceded by an attribute:

to change one's mind, to get rid (of), to get hold (of), to lose sight (of), to make fun (of), to make up

one's mind, to make use (of), to take care (of), to take leave (of), to take part (in), etc.


I have never taken much interest in German songs.

She paid little heed to what was going on in the world outside.

Are you taking part in the concert?

The simple nominal predicate

§ 49. The simple nominal predicate is expressed by a noun, or an adjective, or a verbal, ft does not contain a link verb, as it shows the incompatibility of the idea expressed by the subject and that expressed by the predicate; thus in the meaning of the simple nominal predicate there is an implied negation.


He a gentleman! You a bother! Never. Fred, a priest! Rondal, jealous! Nick, dishonest! Such an old lady to come so far! Ну какой же он джентльмен! Ты - зануда! Ну, что ты! Чтобы Фред был священником! Рондел - ревнует! (Быть того не может!) Ник - нечестный! Не может быть! Чтобы такая пожилая дама пришла издалека!


Sentences with the simple nominal predicate are always exclamatory evidently owing to the implication of a negation or of an evaluation.

The predicate is mostly commad off (separated by a comma), but a comma is not regarded as a strict rule.

These predicates are used in colloquial English, although not fre­quently.

The simple nominal predicate can be expressed by:


1. A noun.


My son a clergyman!

She, a nun!

Me, a liar!


2. An adjective.


My ideas obsolete!

Ronnie, good-looking!

You sad!


3. An infinitive or an infinitive phrase.


Hercule Poirot to sleep while murder is committed!

My boy insult a gentleman at my table!


4. Participle I or a participial phrase.


She spying!

Me trying to be funny!

The compound predicate


§ 50. The compound predicate consists of two parts: the notional and the structural. The structural part comes first and is followed by the notional part.

The notional part may be expressed by a noun, an adjective, a stative, an adverb, a verbal, a phrase, a predicative complex,or a clause.

The structural part is expressed by a finite verb - a phasal verb, a modal verb, a verb expressing attitude, intention, planning, etc., or a link verb.

From the point of view of meaning the most important part of the compound predicate is the notional part as it contains the information about the person or non-person expressed by the subject.

From the point of view of structure the most important part of the predicate is the first one, since it is expressed by a finite verb and carries grammatical information about the person, number, tense, voice, modal, attitudinal and aspective (phasal) meaning of the whole predicate.

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