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THE PREDICATE

As we have seen, the definition of the subject given here includes mention of the predicate. This is in accordance with the view stated above, that the two notions are correlative, that is to say, there is a subject in two-member sentences only. In a similar way, a definition of the predicate will have to include mention of the subject.

Following the same pattern in the definition of the predicate, we arrive at the following result. The predicate is one of the two main parts of the sentence. (1) It denotes the action or property of the thing expressed by the subject. (2) It is not dependent on any other part of the sentence. (3) Ways of expressing the predicate are varied and their structure will better be considered under the heading of types of predicate. Here it will suffice to say that among them are: a finite verb form, and a variety of phrases, for instance, phrases of the following patterns: "finite verb + infinitive", "link verb -f- noun", "link verb + adjective", "link verb + preposition + noun", etc.

The assertion that the predicate is not dependent on any other part of the sentence, including the subject, requires some comment. It is sometimes claimed that the predicate agrees in number with the subject: when the subject- is in the singular, the predicate is bound to be in the singular, and when the subject is in the plural, the predicate is bound to be in the plural t as well. However, this statement is very doubtful. As we have seen above (p. 182), there is much to be said in favour of the view that the category of number in the predicate verb is independent of the number in the subject. This is especially confirmed by sentences like My family are early risers, where the plural number in the link verb shows the plurality of the acting persons, though the subject noun is in the singular. Besides it should be noted that this question of concord or no concord is one that belongs to the level of phrases, not to that of the sentence and its parts. Thus, there seems to be no valid reason for thinking that the predicate is in any way dependent on the subject.


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 568


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THE SUBJECT AND THE PREDICATE | Types of Predicate
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