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In comparison to German, English is very "situational" with its predicate nominative (see this question).

Suppose the rule is that the predicate nominative is only ever applied for sentences like the following:

It was I, who did that.

then it would be very logical if it were

"Who was that."

"That was I."

  • Is this spoken by anyone?
  • Is this considered correct by the ardent defenders of the predicate nominative?
  • If the answers are "No." wouldn't it make sense to say that there is no such thing in the heart of the English language after all?
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There is no such thing in the heart of the English language. It has been bolted on by pedants, and taught to some people. –  Colin Fine Dec 15 '13 at 23:12
    
Right. "Predicate nominative" is a phrase borrowed from Latin, which actually does have such a construction and a nominative case to go with it. English just has predicate adjectives (Mary is tired and dirty) and predicate nouns (They are all lawyers), both of which require auxiliary be, but has no cases to mark them with. Only personal pronouns have any vestiges of case marking left, and it's rare to use pronouns as predicates; pronouns are for things that are already understood and can be abbreviated, rather than for being the predictate of a clause. –  John Lawler Dec 15 '13 at 23:32

1 Answer 1

John Lawler wrote in a potentially ephemeral comment:

Right. “Predicate nominative” is a phrase borrowed from Latin, which actually does have such a construction and a nominative case to go with it.

English just has predicate adjectives (Mary is tired and dirty) and predicate nouns (They are all lawyers), both of which require auxiliary be, but has no cases to mark them with.

Only personal pronouns have any vestiges of case marking left, and it’s rare to use pronouns as predicates; pronouns are for things that are already understood and can be abbreviated, rather than for being the predictate of a clause.

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