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  1. Smoking is prohibited here.
  2. Using the drug is prohibited in the game.

Is the word prohibited in both sentences above a verb, predicate adjective, or both?

Kindly enlighten me with this. Thank you! ^_^

  • It'd be better if a question wouldn't be limited to a certain word. You can replace "prohibited" with "allowed" and the answer is still the same. – Em1 Oct 14 '14 at 7:46
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Prohibited is a form of the verb prohibit: it is the past participle.

In both sentences it is used in the same way.

We can read both sentences as a passive construction, when we feel that the agent (in this case, the authorities or some such thing) are somehow relevant. However, if the agent was relevant, I suspect the author should have mentioned it: _smoking is prohibited here by the local police.

It is also possible, and to my mind preferable, to read the sentences as active simple present, which means that prohibited is used attributively. It is not an adjective (it doesn't behave the same way real adjectives do) although it is used in a similar way to an adjective: it describes a noun.
The verb is in both sentences is a simple copula to link the attributive participle to the noun.

When reading the sentences as active simple present, they describe a state of affairs. It doesn't really matter who or what performed the act of prohibiting something, what matters is the state of being prohibited. I believe that this is semantically the most common interpretation of these two sentences.

As an illustration of the different reading, let's have a look at this pair of sentences:

The door was painted blue by my cousin.
The door was (painted) blue.

The first sentence makes it clear that my focus is on the action of painting the door. It is not so much the result as the action by my cousin that I am reporting.
In the second sentence, whether or not I include painted, I am simply reporting the state of the door: it is blue. It doesn't matter whether someone painted it, or when or why. I'm possibly just mentioning the colour to distinguish it from the two black doors next to it.

  • Thank you oerkelens for this detailed explanation regarding this matter. ^_^ I'll take note of this. – phantomthief Oct 14 '14 at 7:05
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'Prohibited' is a predicate adjective in both cases.

A predicate adjective modifies the subject of the sentence and is connected to the subject by a linking verb. It is perhaps a bit unclear but in the first case the subject is 'smoking' and the linking verb is 'is'. In the second case, 'enhancement drug' is the subject and the linking verb again is 'is'.

The use of 'prohibit' as a verb requires that it be directly connected to the subject, for example 'he prohibits'. 'Smoking prohibits the smoker from ...' 'Race regulations prohibit the use of enhancement drugs...'

  • Thank you so much for your explanation Mick! ^_^ Sorry I changed the second sentence because of copyright purposes. :) – phantomthief Oct 14 '14 at 7:04

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