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The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 250) has this passage: enter image description here Here, Od is Direct Object, and Oi is Indirect Object.

It seems that CGEL is saying that almost raw in [i-ii] and fiendishly hungry in [iii] are all predicative adjuncts, not predicative complements.

In [i] and [iii], I agree that almost raw and fiendishly hungry are adjuncts. But is almost raw an adjunct in [ii] too?

If it is, how about this?

He served her steak almost raw.

Here, is almost raw an adjunct too?

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  • It's all explained in CGEL.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 8:22
  • @BillJ Where in CGEL?
    – JK2
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 8:42
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 2:11

2 Answers 2

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All of these can be paraphrased with a when statement containing the adjunct,

She ate her steak when it was almost raw.

He served her her steak when it was almost raw.

He served her steak when it was almost raw.

With predicative complements, this would not be possible,

He kept her steak almost raw =/= He kept her steak when it was almost raw.

She called the steak almost raw =/= She called the steak when it was almost raw.

Her steak stayed almost raw =/= Her steak stayed when it was almost raw.

In this second set, almost raw is an argument of the verb and hence cannot be paraphrased by a construction clearly falling into the adjunct category.

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    I doubt the paraphrases in the first set work either. Do you really think, for example, that He served her steak almost raw means the same thing as He served her steak when it was almost raw?
    – JK2
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 5:43
  • Yes, the meaning is practically the same even if the when version is a bit clunky. There may be some grey area between predicative adjuncts and complements (e.g. She prefers her steaks almost raw =?= She prefers her steaks when they are almost raw), but there is a clear difference between the first and second set above.
    – DW256
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 5:52
  • I agree that there's a clear difference between the first and second set. But does it necessarily mean that the first set works as you claim? If almost raw were to mean when it was almost raw, why is it that when it was almost raw can be fronted but that almost raw cannot? When it was almost raw, he served her steak works, but Almost raw, he served her steak doesn't. Note that Fiendishly hungry, he offered her the steak works too (when he is predicand).
    – JK2
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 6:29
  • Adjuncts are optional—the verb does not require them or assign a special interpretation to them. Semantically "almost raw" is called a depictive adjunct. There is a secondary predication construction where such a depictive adjunct can go in a clause after a predicate and its complements. "When" adjuncts are a different kind that can be fronted, but the meaning is similar.
    – nschneid
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 18:31
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Regarding your question about:

He served her steak almost raw.

This sentence is ambiguous. Her can be either a possessive/genitive pronoun functioning as determiner, or an accusative pronoun functioning as indirect object.

  • Interpretation 1: He served [her steak] [almost raw]
  • Interpretation 2: He served [her] [steak] [almost raw]
    • paraphrases: He served [to her] [steak] [almost raw] / He served [her] [some steak] [almost raw]

Either way, almost raw is an adjunct: it can be freely omitted without affecting the interpretation of He served her steak.

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  • If sleeping raw is doing so without pajamas, I wonder whether serving raw wouldn't be the same thing. :)
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 19:29

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