The predicate is the second main part of the sentence and its organizing centre, as the object and nearly all adverbial modifiers are connected with, and dependent on, it.
The predicate may be considered from the semantic or from the structural point of view. Structurally the predicate in English expressed by a finite verb agrees with the subject in number and person. The only exception to this rule is a compound modal and a simple nominal predicate, the latter having no verb form at all (see § 49).
According to the meaning of its components, the predicate may denote an action, a state, a quality, or an attitude to some action or state ascribed to the subject. These different meanings find their expression in the structure of the predicate and the lexical meaning of its constituents.
Structural classification of the predicate
From the structural point of view there are two main types of predicate: the simple predicate and the compound predicate. Both these types may be either nominal or verbal, which gives four sub-groups: simple verbal, simple nominal, compound verbal, compound nominal. Compound verbal predicates may be further classified into phasal, modal and of double orientation Compound nominal predicates may be classified into nominal proper and double nominal.
The simple predicate
The simple verbal predicate
The simple verbal predicate is expressed by:
1. A verb in a synthetic or analytical form.
John runs quickly.
I was sent in to get my tea.
Perhaps you will even remember that woman. When did life begin on earth?
I didn’t care about the consequence.
Don’t come too late.
2. A verb phrase (a phraseological equivalent of a verb denoting one action).
a) Phrases denoting single actions:
to have a look, to have a smoke, to have a talk, to give a look, to give a laugh, to give a cry, to take a
look, to make a move, to make a remark, to pay a visit, etc.
They comprise a transitive verb and a deverbal noun with the indefinite article.
Nurse Sharp gave him a look and walked out. The man gave a violent start.
Did you have a sleep?
It’s time we were making a move.
b) Phrases denoting various kinds of actions. In most cases they comprise an abstract noun used with no article but often preceded by an attribute: to change one’s mind, to get rid (of), to get hold (of), to lose sight (of), to make fun (of), to make up one’s mind, to make use (of), to take care (of), to take leave (of), to take part (in), etc.
I have never taken much interest in German songs.
She paid little heed to what was going on in the world outside. Are you taking part in the concert?
The simple nominal predicate
The simple nominal predicate is expressed by a noun, or an adjective, or a verbal, ft does not contain a link verb, as it shows the incompatibility of the idea expressed by the subject and that expressed by the predicate; thus in the meaning of the simple nominal predicate there is an implied negation.
- He a gentleman!
- You a bother!
- Fred, a priest!
- Rondal, jealous!
- Nick, dishonest!
- Such an old lady to come so far!
Sentences with the simple nominal predicate are always exclamatory evidently owing to the implication of a negation or of an evaluation.
The predicate is mostly commad off (separated by a comma), but a comma is not regarded as a strict rule.
These predicates are used in colloquial English, although not frequently. The simple nominal predicate can be expressed by:
1. A noun.
My son a clergyman!
She, a nun!
Me, a liar!
2. An adjective.
My ideas obsolete!
3. An infinitive or an infinitive phrase.
Hercule Poirot to sleep while murder is committed!
My boy insult a gentleman at my table!
4. Participle I or a participial phrase.
Me trying to be funny!
The compound predicate
The compound predicate consists of two parts: the notional and the structural. The structural part comes first and is followed by the notional part.
The notional part may be expressed by a noun, an adjective, a stative, an adverb, a verbal, a phrase, a predicative complex, or a clause.
The structural part is expressed by a finite verb – a phasal verb, a modal verb, a verb expressing attitude, intention, planning, etc., or a link verb.
From the point of view of meaning the most important part of the compound predicate is the notional part as it contains the information about the person or non-person expressed by the subject.
From the point of view of structure the most important part of the predicate is the first one, since it is expressed by a finite verb and carries grammatical information about the person, number, tense, voice, modal, attitudinal and aspective (phasal) meaning of the whole predicate.
The compound verbal predicate
T he compound verbal pha salpredicate
The compound verbal phasal predicate denotes the beginning, duration, repetition or cessation of the action expressed by an infinitive or a gerund. It consists of a phasal verb and an infinitive or a gerund, Accordingly its first component may be a phasal verb of:
1. B e g i n n i n g :
to begin, to start, to commence, to set about, to take to, to fall to, to come.
Andrew and he began to talk about the famous clinic. Jack started training out at Hogan’s health farm.
So I took to going to the farm.
He fell to poking the fire with all his might. I come to think that you are right.
2. Dur at i o n:
to go on, to keep, to proceed, to continue.
The talk kept running on the possibility of a storm.
As we continued to laugh his surprise gave way to annoyance.
3. R ep et i t i o n:
would, used (denoting a repeated action in the past).
Alfredo used to talk to me about it.
During her small leisure hours she would sit by the window or walk in the fields.