I have to analyze the valency pattern of this clause "These glorious full colour prints that resulted were known as brocade pictures". Can I consider "were known" as a copular verb followed by the subject predicative "as brocade pictures"?

  • 'I have to analyze the valency pattern of this clause' indicates that you're following a course in grammar (the grammar terrorists who hold a catapult to your head and say 'Parse this!' being few and far between). But different establishments choose different grammars. I've seen 'known as' called a 'phrasal verb' [English Club]. And 'be known as' called a 'prepositional verb' [The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook, Brief Edition_Cheryl Glenn, Loretta Gray.] If Professor @John Lawler gives you his take, your people probably won't accept it. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 28 '15 at 16:58
  • Sure, why not? Seems a fairly sensible way of looking at it. Whether you consider know as to be a phrasal/prepositional verb or just accept prepositional phrases as possible subject/object predicatives (the linking verb being then know alone) is up to you. Similarly, in the active “We know these prints as brocade pictures”, it seems reasonable enough to call these prints the direct object and (as) brocade pictures the object predicative. (Or predicative complement over the subject/object, respectively, if you want to give them names that more accurately describe their function.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 28 '15 at 17:12

The copular verb/linking verb is "were" (to be), the linking verb number 1. It is followed by "known", the predicative complement. Here "known" is used as an adjective. "known" is followed by "as brocade pictures". Here I think the terms for this part will diverge. I would say this word group is a complement to the adjective "known".

I don't think that "were known" can be seen as linking verb. But today there are so many grammar systems with different views that everything is possible.

May I add that I don't use the term valency, though I know it. But I think verbs are not comparable to elements of chemistry. Verb constructions can be changed, one construction can be transformed into another one, and new constructions can be developed. So I don't like the mechanical view that verbs have valency.

  • In our course (I'm an Italian student) we're using Longman "Student Grammar" and it uses this term. But I totally agree with you. So can I consider this valency pattern (or the verb construction) copular (linking)? – MeryRose Jun 28 '15 at 17:20
  • Go and find copula/copular/linking verb in the register of your grammar and study the grammar point "linking verb". I don't think that the Longman grammar has " to be known" in its list of linking verbs. – rogermue Jun 28 '15 at 17:26
  • I suppose it's still the same basic principle if we contrast I am FumbleFingers with I am called FumbleFingers. The former reflects standard examples of copular usage (X [to be] Y), where X and Y are in some sense being "equated" (the predicate following the copula expresses shared identity). But I note that Wikipedia lists two more types of predicate (expressing membership of a class, or some property, relation or position), so I guess called FumbleFingers fits in there somewhere. – FumbleFingers Jun 28 '15 at 17:32
  • That's the problem. But according to your explanation and my book, the whole clause is "copular" and the copular verb is "be" with "known as brocade pictures" as its subject predicative. – MeryRose Jun 28 '15 at 17:33
  • ...but I think we can safely dismiss the idea that be called is in any meaningful sense a "phrasal verb". – FumbleFingers Jun 28 '15 at 17:34

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