The predicate is the second principal member of the sentence. It denotes an action, a state or a process, is always expressed by a finite verb and in a declarative sentence usually follows the subject:
I’ve saved a thousand pounds.
My wife and I are fond of each other.
It is getting cold.
Types of Predicates
1. the simple predicate is usually expressed by a single finite verb:
It cost several thousand pounds.
How long have you been here?
Ex.1. Point out the predicate in each of the following sentences:
1. He excused himself and went outside. 2. There came a surprise. 3. He wondered what she was thinking. 4. No questions were asked about his absence. 5. On steam tables the day’s dinner menu dishes were being portioned and served for delivery to dining-rooms. 6. I shouldn’t have allowed that to happen, believe me, my dear Eliot, if I had been there.
The simple predicate can also be expressed by verbal set phrases such as: to take part, to pay attention, to give birth etc.:
Miranda stole a quick glance at Miss Cromwell.
Spencer took a deep breath.
They are going to pay us a return visit next Sunday
2. the compound predicate may be:
a. compound verbal modal or aspective:
We must have lunch together one day.
I kept falling yesterday when I was skiing.
Ex.2. Point out the predicate in each of the following sentences and state its type:
1. But I must be going now. 2. “Why should we go down to dessert twice a day?” said Venice. 3. You will have to do as you were told. 4. Most of our senior officers will have arrived by then. 5. Your mother must have gone through a good deal of suffering. 6. They may have telephone communication. 7. Who could have done such a thing? 8. Jack ought to have stayed for tea with them. 9. The man grinned from ear to ear and began to play a lively tune. 10. I kept walking, busy with my thoughts. 11. Aloysius Royce continued to work quietly as the other two talked. 12. He burst out laughing. 13. They ceased to speak eyeing the newcomer suspiciously. 14. He would go there every afternoon just for pleasure. 15. You remind me of someone I used to know from Africa. 16. She stopped to talk to the Cypriot tailor. 17. The tanks began moving towards the bridge.
b. the compound nominal predicate (a link verb + a predicative):
The meat smells bad.
She looked as if touched.
Ex.3. Point out the predicate in each of the following sentences:
1. The roof of the cottage was high and pointed. 2. The argument grew hot. 3. You men, you’re all alike! 4. The plan is original but very difficult to be realized. 5. They remained silent for a while. 6. Why have you become so absent-minded, my dear fellow? 7. It is getting dark, will you turn on the light? 8. Her voice sounded very strange. 9. Something has gone wrong with the starter. 10. Mary’s cakes taste always delicious.
The link verbs
Ex.4. Fill in the blanks with the proper link-verbs choosing them from the list below.
to be, to become, to get, to turn, to grow, to prove, to remain, to keep, to fall, to go, to look, to seem, to appear, to blush, to taste, to smell, to sound, to feel.
1. It has been said that Mr Jonas ... pale when the behaviour of the old clerk attracted general attention. 2. “I’ll do it,” I resolved, and having framed this determination, I ... calm, and ... asleep. 3. He did not... so bad that he could not go on working. 4. He ... scarlet as he thought of her laughing up her sleeve. 5. The face ... familiar to me, but I don’t know the man. 6. It ... very good with mineral water. 7. Inside the floating cloak he ... tall, thin, and bony; and his hair... red beneath the black cap. 8. He was taken aback and... silent. 9. Pearson ... uncomfortable in that chair.She knew she ... good tonight; she had dressed well and made up carefully. 11. Oh, Ashley, don’t talk like that. You ... so sad. 12. The stable ... dry and pleasant in the rain.
The double predicate
The double predicate is a special type of compound nominal predicate in which a notional verb replaces the link verb:
Her answer came quick. It was sharp. à Her answer came quick and sharp.
He was young when he died à He died young.
Ex.5. Consider the double predicate in the following sentences. Translate into Russian:
1. The day broke grey and dull. 2. The dust lay thick on the country road. 3. The door slammed shut behind the newcomers. 4. The morning of the Handicap dawned clear and bright. 5. The moon rose red over the silent valley. 6. But Alex, when he was alone, sat silent, thoughtful. 7. If by any chance one of the servants heard her she could say that she had awakened hungry and had gone down to see if she could find something to eat. 8. He was lying flat on his back looking up into the eternal blue of the sky. 9. That night, Martha lay awake with her mind in turmoil. 10. He came home pale and puzzled, and called his wife into his study.