I'm curious about newscasters using the term "shot dead" in describing the death of a gun shot victim. Is this correct? They would never describe a survivor as "shot live".
Yes, it is definitely correct, because shot can mean that one has simply been shot, somewhere to their body, and this doesn't necessarily mean they must have died because of it.
Shot dead, on the other hand, implies that one has died after being shot and it also specifically says that the shooting was fatal (they didn't die because of any other reason).
To RIMMER's answer I would add:
There is also a sense of immediacy -- shot and he died right there on the spot, as opposed to shot and he died the next day in the hospital. He's dead either way, but "shot dead" isn't generally used in the latter case. (You'd say he was fatally shot, or shot and died of his wounds, or something like that.)
I think this is not as much the question of grammar, but of semantics
You shot him dead. > He was shot dead.
You painted it pink. > It was painted pink.
The reason why you can hardly use any other word except "dead" after "shot" is that semantically it does not work i.e. the same reason why you can not say
You painted it loud.
(literary use excluded).
The questioner asked: why not shot live, for a survivor? That would be because in shot dead, dead is the consequence of shot. In shot live, you are not alive because you are shot, but rather you are alive despite being shot.
There are other words that can follow 'shot' that indicate something about the result of the shooting:
He shot that poor boy so bad. (From the song Stagger Lee!) I shot him good. Damn near killed him. He shot the bar up. He shot him down (like a dog). I shot him full of holes. He shot it apart.
Whatever word-class dictionaries assign them, these all seem to function as predicate complements, which makes them 'adjectival' if you must assign them a class in the cases under consideration. The 'good' and 'bad' examples are, erm, informal, but illustrate the grammar. The 'up' and 'down' examples could be construed as phrasal verbs, but 'up' and 'down' are not "modifying" 'shot'. The last three show words indicating result. 'Through and through' is an idiom usually considered an adverb, but word-class does not fully determine function. 'Full of holes' is clearly adjectival and 'apart' arguably so.
I to have a problem with "Shot Dead" being correct English usage. Growing up with in the mid-west we were taught, "Shot and killed". You can not take a dead person, shoot them alive. You shoot a dead person they will remain dead. I read all of the previous posts and find some are trying to compare apples to oranges. However the American usage of the English language has added so many twists and turns, it is sometimes very difficult to know correct usage from incorrect unless the incorrect is so absurd it is hilarious. An add for a bug spray comes to mind " Kills them dead". If you kill them they have to be dead. Shot Dead may be correct, but Shot And Killed sounds better.
Its plain wrong grammatically i think. I know what they mean but its like the formalization of a concatenation. Its like another one i hear: "shooting death". Who is doing the shooting? - subject verb problem i think. Fatally shot is the correct way to express that thought grammatically.
protected by tchrist♦ Dec 11 '14 at 21:02
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