A suspicious policeman looked at a suspicious man.

Can anybody define the semantic roles of the nouns which follow the adjective suspicious in the quoted sentence?

  • Semantic roles - 'the purpose of the meaning'/'the purpose of the connotation'.... The purpose of the meaning/connotation of the word that follows suspicious. The purpose of the meaning/connotation of the word policeman, only when it follows the word 'suspicious'. 'purpose of 'the definition of a person who polices'' when the defined is suspicious. ''to define the policeman who is suspicious' is the purpose of 'the definition of a person who polices' when the defined policeman is suspicious. Oct 11, 2011 at 5:37
  • @Wolfpack'08 see the following link which explains semantic roles: pages.uoregon.edu/tpayne/EG595/HO-Srs-and-GRs.pdf Oct 11, 2011 at 5:40
  • -1 for no research on attempting to assign semantic roles
    – user10893
    Oct 11, 2011 at 5:41
  • Thanks. Given that, I'd say 'suspicious' assigns an agent (a spy), an instrument (as in, an instrument of destruction), a benefactee (receiving a title, "suspicious"), and a location (or rather a locus that onlookers should keep in mind)... role. Oct 11, 2011 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


I'd say the policeman is the agent and the man is the patient. As the man undergoes the experience of being looked at and the policeman is the "doer" of the act (looking).

  • Yeah, that sounds like the case. Oct 11, 2011 at 11:05

The policeman is actively being suspicious, i.e. investigative, on alert here because that is his job. The man however is susipicious because that is the policeman's impression of him. He looks suspicious because of his previous actions, his way of walking or just because of the policeman's intuition.

  • This doesn't answer the question.
    – user10893
    Oct 11, 2011 at 5:56
  • I did explain the semantics of the sentence and furthermore the real question isn't about the nouns here, it's the difference between 'suspcious' (policeman) and 'suspicious' (man).
    – Raku
    Oct 11, 2011 at 6:39
  • A "semantic role" is not what you described. Please see the OP's comment to his post.
    – user10893
    Oct 11, 2011 at 6:41
  • 1
    Yeah, if you're only parsing the question instead of understanding it, you might be right. Choose for yourself what you want to do. And as I mentioned before, by the time I was posting, the OP hadn't even defined what a semantic role was.
    – Raku
    Oct 11, 2011 at 7:18
  • 1
    Same thing, Raku. Be strong, big guy. Oct 11, 2011 at 11:07

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