In the sentence

Steve went unnoticed by the crowd.

Does unnoticed modify went, making it an adverb or Steve, making it an adjective?

  • 1
    Verbs of perception and linking verbs normally take adjective complements. Here, if went unnoticed by the crowd means became invisible to the crowd, it's a subject complement. Whereas if it means left secretly, it's an adverb. – mahmud k pukayoor Jul 18 '18 at 6:49
  • @mahmudkoya Add some spice and turn that into an answer! – Kris Jul 18 '18 at 11:30

I don't think "unnoticed" is ever an adverb—certainly not in the sentence "Steve went unnoticed by the crowd." It is an adjective.

Verbs can take adjectives as complements: the most obvious examples are copular verbs like "be" and "become". We say things like "Steve was unnoticed" or "Steve became unhappy" where "unnoticed" and "unhappy" are adjectives that act as complements to "was" and "became". Not everything that "modifies" or goes with a verb is an adverb (for comparison, a transitive verb can take a noun phrase as a direct object: that obviously doesn't make the noun phrase an adverb!).

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