Given its first use:

"I don't know why, it's a perfectly cromulent word."

The verb is "is" (=> it's) and the noun is "word". Since cromulent links them both and directly addresses the noun, isn't that the definition of a Predicate Adjective?

Has it been used in any other way?

  • Google reports 91K instances of is a cromulent [word, whatever] but only 55 instances of is cromulent to [do something]. For comparison, is a stupid [thing to do, whatever] gets 300M hits, and is stupid to [do it] gets 16M. Does that answer your question by showing that cromulent isn't often used as flexibly as a functionally similar word like stupid? – FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 5:29
  • @FumbleFingers - I can see what you mean, although I'm not sure a GoogleFight is a fair measure of er, correct use. Thanks for the stats, though :) – BryanH Jan 30 '13 at 19:56
  • Well, with a neologism like this, "correct" usage is obviously defined by "actual" usage, so I think it's as good a mechanism as any. – FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 21:28

No, it is not being used in the predicative role / position:

  1. Bill is skillful. Link verb + predicative adjective.
  2. Bill is a plumber. Link verb + predicative noun group.
  3. Bill is a skillful plumber. Link verb + predicative noun group, where noun group contains an attributive adjective.

3'. Bill is a really skillful plumber. Degree modifier (intensifier) added to predicative noun group.


In English, in any clause of the shape
- [Noun Phrase [be Adjective]]
the Adjective is a Predicate Adjective.

It's an Adjective and it's the Predicate.
That's the definition of Predicate Adjective.

In exactly the same way, in any clause of the shape
- [Noun Phrase [be Noun Phrase]]
the second Noun Phrase is a Predicate Noun.

It's a Noun and it's the Predicate.
That's the definition of Predicate Noun.

This works for any noun or any adjective, whether it's artificial or natural.
This is grammar, not dictionary.

  • And, by the way, Predicate Adjectives do not "modify" anything. They're predicates; everything else "modifies" them. – John Lawler Jan 29 '13 at 21:40
  • I suppose your "be" is just the lexical equivalent of = or (that second one meaning is approximately equal to), so it applies equally to verbs like seems, appears, looks, etc. – FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 0:14
  • Oh, no. The verb be in this context has no reference, meaning, or lexical equivalent at all. It's entirely a dummy verb, doing nothing more than opening a place (usually contracted, of course) for the tense to appear. No semantics at all. Totally syntactic, automatic, and meaningless, like Do-Support. – John Lawler Jan 30 '13 at 0:30
  • Umm... does that space have to at least be filled by a verb? – FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 2:58
  • 1
    It has to be filled by something that can be inflected for tense, which means a verb; but which one is specified by rule: be + -ing for Progressive, be + -en for Passive, have + -en for Perfect, be + Adj, be + NP, be + PP, etc. – John Lawler Jan 30 '13 at 3:19

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