"To wipe the table clean" : A well-known example for a resultative verb.

However, I'm looking through many Aktionsart right now, and I just cannot figure out what happens in "I will eat you alive" or "He ate the chicken raw". I guess we can elongate it to "I will eat you {while you are} alive", but, well, there has to be a name for this usage of putting an adjective that describes the state the person something is done to to the moment the action takes place?

Please help me out, just one term is enough, or one link, you don't have to bring lots of effort.

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    It's a complex-transitive clause where "alive" is an optional depictive complement of "eat". "You" is object and the predicand for the complement. The same applies to "He ate the chicken raw", where "the chicken" is object and predicand for the complement.
    – BillJ
    Dec 1, 2022 at 13:27
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    You are right that it is a "depictive construction", at least I can find some people calling it that and giving this kind of example! Dec 1, 2022 at 13:30
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    Maybe write an answer and I can checkmark it as most helpful one? Dec 1, 2022 at 13:32
  • Does this answer your question? When can verbal passives be used in secondary predicates? '"John hammered the metal flat" is indeed a resultative construction: the hammering brings about the flatness. But "I prefer/eat my food salted/hot" is an object-orientated depictive construction.' Dec 1, 2022 at 14:37
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    @JohnLawler Thank you, very helpful! Dec 1, 2022 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


[1] I wiped the table clean.

[2] I will eat you alive.

[3] He ate the chicken raw.

The items in bold are all optional predicatives in complex-transitive clauses.

[1] is, as you say, a resultative predicative which, although optional, is licensed by the verb.

By contrast, in [2] and [3] the predicatives are depictive and, although optional, are adjuncts. In other words, the predicative/non-predicative contrast cuts across that between complements and adjuncts, and hence they are best called predicative adjuncts.


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