Questions tagged [copular-verbs]

A copula is “That part of a proposition which connects the subject and predicate; the present tense of the verb to be (with or without a negative) employed as a mere sign of predication.” It uses a linking verb to describe the subject, so is always either another noun or an adjective. Other verbs that can sometimes function as copulas include seem, appear, become, and remain, as well as the sense verbs look, sound, taste, smell, and feel.

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Is it correct to place the adjective before 'is/was'?

For example: "Shut were his blinds." vs "His blinds were shut." Is there any meaningful difference between these two? Is the former even grammatically correct?
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Verb *leave* and an unusual copular construction?

A recent question on verb agreement left me one unresolved issue — can we add the verb leave to the list of verbs with copular uses? The heat left me parched. The shutdown left me out of a job. The ...
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Can prepositional phrases modify copular verbs?

Cassandra was a natural fit for the role because of her well-refined combat skills. In the above quote (from a piece I wrote for my job), I have used the prepositional phrase 'because of her well-...
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specifying use of 'be'

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 266) defines the ascriptive and specifying uses of be as follows: [45] i His daughter is very bright/a highly intelligent woman. [ascriptive] ii ...
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Structure and usage of the construction - BE of

I have seen various sentences like this: The availability of two reasonably complete mammalian genomes is of great help to gene finders. - The New York Times I do my utmost to dress the actors very ...
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1 vote
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What is 'only' when used with a linking verb? [closed]

What about "you are only a boy"? Some claim only modifies are, is this an "exception" to the copula taking adjectives rather than adverbs? (I can appreciate the objection to the ...
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2 votes
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“Think+Noun+good luck” vs “Think + Noun+ is good luck” [duplicate]

I saw a question on Quora recently which asked about the grammar of the following sentence: “The British think ravens good luck” Interestingly, most answers weren't familiar with this structure but ...
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What semantic meaning does the copula 'be' have in its specifying use?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 252) says: It may be that the be of [Kim is fond of animals] should be regarded as semantically empty, serving the purely syntactic function of ...
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Is "to be" in "to be or not to be" used as a linking verb with no nominal nor adjectival predicate?

Is "to be" in "to be or not to be" used as a linking verb with no nominal nor adjectival predicate? Is it grammatically correct, and if so what rules govern that omission?
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Can we ever use "that" and "who" right next to each other?

I’ve learned that we can use that to provide more information for abstract nouns, such as problem, belief, etc. I don’t quite understand what that means, though, so let me try it out. For example, ...
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Linking verb vs unchanged adverb

Page 21 of Garner's fourth edition reads One must analyze the sentence rather than memorize a list of common linking verbs. Often unexpected candidates serve as linking verbs—e.g.: • “The rule sweeps ...
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Who do you think is I/me/you in the picture?

Do you think it's correct to use the verb to be this way in these sentences? 1 Who do you think is me in the picture? 2 Who do you think is you in the picture? 3 How can I recognize who is you in ...
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Can 's be used to mean was? [duplicate]

Can 's be used as a contraction of was? For example, can "maybe she's born that way" mean "maybe she was born that way"?
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Which of these two sentences are correct, or are they both wrong? [closed]

...so that they all turn into failures, not that they don't already are. ...so that they all turn into failures, not that they aren't already.
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1 answer
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What kind of complementation for "be regarded"?

I'm trying to find where the passive form "be regarded" belongs in terms of transitivity. In the sentence: Only a minority of countries would be regarded as part of the third world. Is the verb would ...
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Can he be an object pronoun?

I understand that a sentence can have more than one subject, but I don't understand the grammatical role of he in the question below and which verb he is performing if he is also a subject. Who is ...
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1 answer
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Singular or plural of 'type' [duplicate]

I have the following two sentences: In Germany, the most common type are air-water heat pumps, followed by brine-water heat pumps. In this thesis three type(s) of optimization approaches are ...
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Is a copula a function word?

Most resources I have read state that verbs are content words (excluding helping verbs). I was just wondering whether copulas are considered content or function words. To me, a copula seems more like ...
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“Thanksgiving was in four days”: something sounds funny!

Can you tell me if this sentence is correct? Here it is, in context (bold emphasis added): ...mother and sister to let them know she was deploying. Thanksgiving was in four days, and Peyton had a ...
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5 votes
3 answers
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How to parse the grammar of a sentence that appears to have two tensed verbs

This question came from a student of mine - he wanted to know how to parse the grammar of this sentence, which appears to be simple but clearly is not: Peter seems to have found his glasses. ...
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Using the Progressive Form of Be for a State of the Mind and Lately in Present Continuous

Firstly, is the following sentence correct? My brother is being unusually nervous lately. If correct, how is being nervous behavior? We usually use the progressive of be to describe a behavior or ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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"This looks like him" or "This looks like he"? [duplicate]

Another, easier case question: Obviously, of the two variants This looks like him and This looks like he the first seems more naturally idiomatic. However, is it grammatically correct? I ...
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Is "what has been discussed are..." a grammatically correct sentence?

When concluding an essay, I wrote "what has been discussed are three major advantages of xxx". But I doubt if "what has been discussed is three major advantages of xxx" is more correct?
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Adverbs of location after be verb

We're upstairs. In this sentence, is upstairs a noun or an adverb? I think it's the latter because if it was a noun, the sentence is missing a preposition before upstairs. To my knowledge, in a SVC ...
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adverbs after linking verbs

They write we must use adjectives rather than adverbs after linking verbs. For example https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/taste_2: Food can taste sweet like sugar. But here's ...
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Can a noun work as an adjective, and the adjective as a noun?

Hazel Eyes I found the following paragraph in the guycounseling.com blog article “Hazel Eyes: Learn Why People with Greenish Eye Color are Rare!”, containing the two words “hazel eyes”: Hazel eyes ...
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6 votes
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"...I don't have money, but what I do have *are* a very particular set of skills." Is this correct?

If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. I'm talking about that verb in italics, because I'm not sure if I'm an idiot ...
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Verb agreement in “It is you who has/have come” [duplicate]

Today I was playing the video game Assassin’s Creed Syndicate on my PC. In a mission where the player whose name is Evie Frye meets a guy, the guy says I thought Jacob was coming but that I am ...
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2 votes
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Which verb do I use in: “All you need in life is/are coffee and good grammar”? [duplicate]

Should I use 'is' or 'are' in the sentence below? All you need in life is/are coffee and good grammar. This question is different from Agreement in "[Singular Noun] Is/Are [Plural Noun]"...
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"Babies grow very quickly." In this sentence is "grow" a copula or a lexical verb?

"Grow" is classified as a change-of-state copula but by definition, copulas may be followed by adjective phrases, noun phrases, or adverbial prepositional phrases. "Very quickly" is an intensifier (...
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How to use the verb "to be" with both singular and plural

I just wrote the following sentence: Saying "Walkers cheese and chive crisps" is up there with thinking mushy peas were guacamole. I am wondering whether I should or could have written: Saying ...
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To be scheduled: is "be" copula or passive auxiliary?

In: The patient was scheduled to receive medication daily. is "was": the main (copula) verb and "scheduled" its complement/object? Or the auxiliary of a passive voice verb group, where "scheduled"...
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The use of "whoever" or "whomever" in complex sentence

Should the following say whoever or whomever. And why? Each of us is free to pretend to be whoever/whomever we wish to be. This sentence needs an object, right?
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Agreement with copular verbs [duplicate]

I hope you do not find this question too silly, but I'm puzzled. "What I love the most is animals" sounds perfectly okay to me. But so does "Animals are what I love the most." Anything to say on ...
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Is the direct object of the verb "is" a noun, adjective, or either?

In the sentence fragment "The black dog" black is clearly in adjective. In the sentence "The dog is black" is black an adjective or a noun? More generally speaking, in sentences of the form "X is Y" ...
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"Should have been us" or "Should have been we"?

I understand that "have been" is a form of the linking verb "to be", so it can only take a predicate nominative. But saying "It should've been us" sounds better.
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-1 votes
2 answers
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200 job losses is/are not a price worth paying [closed]

200 job losses is/are not a price worth paying Is the singular or plural form more appropriate here, considering job losses is plural and price is singular?
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12 votes
9 answers
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I am [who/whom] G-d made me

Please fill in the blank with the correct word and explain your choice. I am __ G-d made me. A. who B. whom Some people have suggested I elaborate on this question so here goes. The above was not ...
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7 votes
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"Stories are so much a part of our lives that many people seldom think about them." : The use of 'so' and 'so much' as intensifiers

There are 176 hits in COCA for [be] so much a part of, including the title and: 1- It actually is so much a part of life. 2- Law is so much a part of me, I don't think I'll ever be able to let loose ...
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"What he is looking for are books" or "...is books"?

Which of the following is correct? What he is looking for are books written by Jane Austin. What he is looking for is books written by Jane Austin. Is it are to agree with the object books or is to ...
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"Being [he/him] is not easy." Which is prescriptively "correct"?

"It is I" follows a well-known prescriptivist rule This question is about prescriptive grammar. It’s a fairly well-known prescriptivist rule that “me, him, her, them” (in other words, pronouns in the ...
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Required to repeat 'is' when specifying two attributions?

I am seeing that I often leave out copula when connecting two clauses. Like: A notation is fixed but the performance variable. I have the feeling this is a mistake coming from my German mother ...
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Alternative to “to be” in copulae that cannot be understood as defining

In particular in scientific writing, copulae using to be can not only be used to describe the properties of something but also to recapture a definition, to define something or to indicate complete ...
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Why should a copula link two noun phrases of the same case?

https://english.stackexchange.com/a/30392/50720 motivated this question: To quote from the clear explanation: The rule for what [Fowler] and others consider technically right is ... that "...
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1 answer
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Can a linking verb be transitive?

I found the following example on oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com. This is from the first entry of the verb feel. A pattern 'feel something' is given under this entry, while the verb 'feel' is listed as ...
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Why is "be" the only English verb that inflects for grammatical person, not just for grammatical number like all the rest of them?

Why do we say “I am a teacher” instead of “I is a teacher” considering that I is a singular pronoun not a plural pronoun? Don’t singulars always take -s forms? Why does be work differently?
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Not my cup of tea

Heard an English teacher claim that: "Dogs is not my cup of tea" is correct; whereas "Dogs are not my cup of tea" is incorrect. The explanation was that the verb form of 'to be' must agree with ...
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4 answers
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"lie quiet" vs "lie quietly"

Is it correct to say “I will lie quiet beneath his touch”? Shouldn’t it be “I will lie quietly beneath his touch”?
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6 votes
2 answers
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"Her whole family IS/ARE biologists"? [duplicate]

I'm not sure whether to put is (number agreeing with the singular her whole family) or are (number agreeing with plural biologists) in this sentence: Her whole family is/are biologists. After some ...
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Can a singular or plural verb ("is" or "are") be used when the subject is a coordination? [duplicate]

In the sentence: The dimensions and shape is/are a little different than the rest. Should I be using 'is' or 'are', or can either be used?
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