What distinguishes a predicative complement from a direct object?



What makes be an intransitive verb? How do we know that the analysis of It is me as transitive by tradtional grammars is incorrect? And how does this analysis apply to other verbs, like hurt for example below:

enter image description here

How to tell if hurt in It hurt me is a copula? It can be replaced by other to be linking verbs (Is, was etc.) Even though (Is, was) are stative verbs while hurt is more of a dynamic/action verb.

The following verbs are true linking verbs: any form of the verb be [am,is, are, was, were, has been, are being, might have been, etc.],become, and seem. These true linking verbs are always linking verbs.

**Then you have a list of verbs with multiple personalities: appear, feel,grow, look, prove, remain, smell, sound, taste, and turn. Sometimes these verbs are linking verbs; sometimes they are action verbs.

How do you tell when they are action verbs and when they are linking verbs?

If you can substitute am, is, or are and the sentence still sounds logical, you have a linking verb on your hands.**

If, after the substitution, the sentence makes no sense, you are dealing with an action verb instead.

Source: http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/linkingverb.htm

Normally action verbs have direct objects, but nearly all verbs can be used as transitve and intransitive, e.g. the verb drive: compare "He drives fast" and "He drives the car fast". The first is a predicative compliment but what about the second one? And in, "It was given to her" - is her a compliment or an object? (Even though her is normally associated with the object pronoun, consider: It was her)

Furthermore can the verb "hurt" be a reporting verb relating the feelings of the subject rather than an action verb like (I feel hurt) or (I am hurt) in "It hurt me"? If it is seen as an action verb, me is an object, while the other interpretation is that there is no object and hurt is being used intransitively. If it is the latter, what differentiates "It hurt me" and "It is I/me" grammatically as predicative compliments?


Posted 2018-06-23T02:59:28.593

Reputation: 31

Welcome to ELL, Joe. I have marked this question as a duplicate of another one: if other people agree with me, your question will be closed. Please look at the other question and, if you don't think it's the same question, please edit your question to explain what is different. – JavaLatte – 2018-06-23T03:55:07.583

@JavaLatte Hi, you misread my question. This is about the grammatical difference not formality. In particular, English pronoun case after copula (be). – Joe – 2018-06-23T04:03:09.960

Who claims that the accusative is the direct object in "it is me"? I don't think CaGEL says this (I can't check it right now, so I'm not sure) – sumelic – 2018-06-23T05:00:36.900

"**The accusative me is claimed to be the case of the direct object as in, It hurt me"** @sumelic provided a picture above. I'd like to think "as in" to mean "as well as." – Joe – 2018-06-23T05:26:28.963

2Thanks for the picture. The quoted passage seems to be saying that the "strong prescriptivist tradition" (which CaGEL says is confused and incorrect) claims that "the accusative me is the case of the direct object". CaGEL doesn't seem to agree with this. – sumelic – 2018-06-23T05:58:19.337

I See! Thank you. Everything is clear now. It says "An assumption is being made that English grammar too requires nominative case for predictive complements". Is this then but a misconception? – Joe – 2018-06-23T06:23:22.593

I couldn't really understand what you're trying to say in the last paragraph. But "hurt" is a transitive verb and "me" is the direct object, not a predicative complement. It's a direct object because it can promote to subject the passive clause: "I was hurt by it". "Me" and "I" are both predicative complements your sentences, but they are different in case: the former is accusative and latter is nominative. – user178049 – 2018-06-23T06:27:08.880

Hi @user178049--I've made that clearer. What about in He was hurt, I feel hurt or I am hurt // is hurt in this case not a verb?. Last comment! I dont want to spurn this into a discussion, sorry! – Joe – 2018-06-23T06:53:06.653

CGEL does not claim that "me" is the direct object in "it is me". Both "I" and "me" are predicative complement, though the accusative "I" is of course ridiculously formal. – BillJ – 2018-06-23T07:19:22.983

The linked question-and-answer is on the same general topic, but it doesn't discuss the grammatical status of I and me at all – what distinguishes a predicative complement from a direct object? What makes be an intransitive verb? How do we know that the analysis of It is me as transitive is incorrect? And how does this analysis apply to other verbs, like hurt for example? That's what this question is about. – snailplane – 2018-06-23T19:25:59.647

@snailboat. Thank you very much for your reply! My q was initally about the assumption that the pronoun case after the copula in 1) It is I and 2) It is me, were not grammatically the same (predictive complements). Where traditional grammars make the mistake of saying 2) is incorrect because it is normally associated as the object with transitive like *It was given to her* versus It was I--where there is only a linking verb making it a predcative complement as there is no main lexical verb that is transitive/intransitive, making 2) possible? But I will fix the question now! – Joe – 2018-06-25T00:06:52.500



Objects are involved in an action. So an expression of Subject-Verb-Object is talking about 2 distinct entities (subject and object). You leave the sentence with information about 2 things.

I hit the wall. (This action included me and the wall)

Predicative complements serve to identify X or communicate an attribute of X. There is only 1 distinct entity, and you leave the sentence with more information about 1 thing.

My name is John.

The coffee is hot.

She seems that she's not telling the truth.


Posted 2018-06-23T02:59:28.593

Reputation: 31 841