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She was obedient to her elders.

In this sentence, how do you label the phrase "to her elders?" The subject of this sentence is 'She', the verb is 'was'. complement is 'obedient', what is to her elders'?

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    The PP "to her elders" is Complement of the adjective "obedient". The AdjP "obedient to her elders" then functions as predicative complement of "be" in its ascriptive sense. – BillJ Jul 21 '19 at 8:10
  • @BillJ the prepositional phrase to her elders qualifies the adjective obedient, doesn't it? Then, isn't its function adverbial? – mahmud k pukayoor Aug 20 '19 at 15:27
  • No, it's a complement because it is licensed (specifically permitted or required) by "obedient". – BillJ Aug 20 '19 at 16:12
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In a comment BillJ wrote:

The PP "to her elders" is Complement of the adjective "obedient". The AdjP "obedient to her elders" then functions as predicative complement of "be" in its ascriptive sense.

| improve this answer | |
  • To her elders, she was obedient. in other words," She obeys her elders". – user58886 Jul 22 '19 at 13:00
  • Heh. I've been dabbling in this exchange for some months now. This may be the most technical answer I've seen yet. Definitely +1. – puppetsock Dec 18 '19 at 15:05
  • A definite +1 would require an attributed linked reference. This is probably from CGEL, which has possibly the best definition of 'complement', but not the monopoly on accepted terminology. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 18 '19 at 16:42

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