"I love you as a friend"

I think it modifies Object, but I want to know if adverb phrase could modify Subject?

  • I as a friend? No, it's love as a friend. See? The love action/feeling is not romantic love, but the love in a friendship. I kiss my grandmother as mother or other family memeber, more than as a friend but not as a girlfriend. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:24
  • "Love" is transitive here with "you" as object. The PP "a friend" is predicative complement, but it is complement of the preposition "as" rather than the verb "love". For this reason, "a friend" is called a predicative oblique, and the as phrase is called a 'marked predicative complement'.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:30
  • 3
    It's ambiguous. The speaker might love having the addressee as a friend, or he might mean his feelings for the addressee are those of a friend (as opposed to a potential sexual partner, for example). Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


I love you as a friend.

'As a friend' is an adverbial which can be replaced by a one word adverb.

For example:

I love you unconditionally.

In both cases it's the manner 'how' you love that is being supplied by the adverbial component.


The adverb phrase modifies neither the subject nor the object, instead modifying the verb, love.

An adverb phrase is a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb. An adverb will always modify an adjective, a verb, or another adverb, and never a noun or a pronoun (I or you); therefore, the only option in this sentence for the phrase's antecedent is love.

Logically, as well, this makes sense. As a friend is how I love you, not the state of me or you.

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