In the following sentence:
John McAdam and Thomas Teleford made important advances in road construction during the early 1800s.
Why is "made advances" not the verb? Are predicate and verb the same thing?
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The reason it's not a verb is as Robusto says.
The reason you're confused is because you're using "
Verb" in two senses.
Verb", which is syntactic.
Verb" to mean "
Predicate", which is logical.
The distinction is a vital one.
Syntax is automatic, like the -s on loves in She loves me not, or the it in She considers it rude to honk. It doesn't have much to do with meaning at all, and native speakers aren't aware of it unless they've been taught something about it (which rarely happens to Anglophone speakers). It's natural, biological, evolved, universal, a part of human language. It's ancient.
Logic, by contrast, is mostly conscious, and involves meaning; indeed, logic is to language as mathematics is to physics -- you can't understand the details without it. It's technological, learned, taught, like literacy or photography or producing musicals. They're both cultural, of course. It's a product of only the last 2 millennia, and even then only occasionally.
In the sentence you cite, the real predicate is
It is a two-place predicate, and it has two arguments
It is true that most predicates are verbs, and that verbs are always predicates or parts of predicates, but adjectives and nouns can be predicates too, and so can other constituents, like phrases. As here.
But made important advances in still has a syntactic structure, even if it's been frozen, and that structure says that the "
Verb" is made.
That's all, really.