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I have encountered a question which asks which sentence doesn't include a predicative adjective and according to the question this sentence includes a predicative adjective,

The tired fireman found the building ablaze.

I couldn't understand how the "the building ablaze" describes fireman or even see "find" as a linking verb.

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    Yes, the adjective "ablaze" is objective predicative complement of "found". It's obligatory for this meaning of "found", which is "discovered". Note that "ablaze" only occurs in postpostive position.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 3 at 11:34
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    This question is similar to: In ‘catch me off guard’, is the ‘off guard’ an objective complement or adjective phrase?. If you believe it’s different, please edit the question, make it clear how it’s different and/or how the answers on that question are not helpful for your problem. In your example, depictive object-orientated secondary predication. // 'The building is ablaze' shows the prototypical predicative adjective. Commented Jul 3 at 11:34
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    @zehir The adjective "ablaze" is undoubtedly objective predicative complement of "found", which here means "discovered".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 3 at 12:12
  • And the reason it appears only in postpositive position is that it is an adjective formed by the coalescing of a prepositional phrase, "on blaze", into a single word, as with "on fire" -> afire. "The arsonist set the building afire".
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 3 at 14:26

2 Answers 2

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The tired fireman found the building ablaze.

Yes, the adjective "ablaze" is objective predicative complement of "found".

It's predicative because it relates to a predicand, here "the building", and it's a complement because it is obligatory for this meaning of "found", which is "discovered".

It's important to distinguish your example, which is a complex transitive construction, with the complex intransitive type found in examples like "The building was ablaze.

Note that "ablaze" only occurs in postpostive or predicative position.

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This is a typical construction of verbs, but not all verbs; only certain verbs have it and you have to check in a dictionary in order to find out whether or not it is possible with the verb at hand. It is possible for "to find".

(OALD, 2008 edition) find IN UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS 7 To discover sb/sth/yourself doing something or in a particular situation, especially when this is unexpected: […] [VN-ADJ]

  • You may find your illness hard to accept

In the construction "[VN-ADJ], V stands for the verb, and N the object. The verb is not a linking verb but a transitive verb.

Other such verbs (there are many of them)

  • consider: She considered him lucky. ("lucky" applies to "him")
  • deem: He deemed the evidence sufficient. ("sufficient" applies to "evidence")
  • suppose: They supposed him dead. ("dead" applies to "him")
  • knock: The blow knocked me flat. ("flat" applies to "me")
  • grow: Grow your hair long. ("long" applies to "hair")
  • The tired fireman found the building ablaze. ("ablaze" applies to "building")
    The tired fireman found that the building was ablaze.

In some cases you can say " S V that < O (N) as S of that clause > was ADJ"

  • She considered that he was lucky.
  • He deemed that the evidence was sufficient.
  • They supposed that he was dead.

For the last two examples, resultative constructions, the equivalent formulation with a that clause is not possible.

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  • As i understand "the building ablaze" can't be a predicative adjective because found isn't a linking verb but a transitive verb is it correct ?
    – Zehir
    Commented Jul 3 at 12:09
  • @Zehir It has to be because "the building" is considered to be an object; linking verbs have no object; "the building" is what the subject finds, although it is found in a particular state. One could say "The tired fireman "arrived and beheld" the building as it was burning."; the idea of an object is perhaps now more evident, but there is no perfect equivalent.
    – LPH
    Commented Jul 3 at 12:25

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