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Author Topic: When “man” functions in a sentence not as noun but as adjective instead  (Read 5997 times)
Joe Carillo
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« on: November 04, 2011, 05:19:08 PM »

Question sent as private message by Pipes, Forum member (November 2, 2011):

Dear Mr. Carillo,

I would just like to consult you with regard to the following questions:

1. How does the word “man” function in the following sentence?

“He is a man.”

Am I right that it functions as a noun, and that the sentence pattern is S-LV-C? How does it become S-LV-Cadj?

2. “Men plough the field and women pull out the young rice shoots from a nursery seedbed that are big enough to transplant.”

I read that sentence from a magazine about Thai farming. However, I am not sure if the clause “that are big enough to transplant” is in the right place or not.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,
Pipes

My reply to Pipes:

Yes, you’re right. The word “man” functions as a noun complement in the sentence “He is a man.” The sentence pattern is therefore S-LV-C.

The pattern of that sentence can be made into S-LV-Cadj-Adv by making “man” function as an adjective complement modified by an adverb, as follows:

“He is man enough.”

Here, “man” can’t stand alone as an adjective complement; it needs the adverb “enough” to make it functional in that sentence. A construction that can purely be S-LV-Cadj—meaning that the adjective alone works as a complement—is the following sentence where the adjective “manly” takes the place of the noun “man”:

“He is manly.”

(For the uninitiated in the abbreviations for sentence patterns, the codes above are being used as follows:  S – subject, LV – linking verb, C – complement, Cadj – adjective complement, Adv – adverb. For a comprehensive listing of all the sentence pattern abbreviations, click this link to “Sentence Patterns” in the Towson University Writing Support website.)

Now, regarding this sentence that you’ve read from a Thai farming magazine:

“Men plough the field and women pull out the young rice shoots from a nursery seedbed that are big enough to transplant.”

Here, the relative clause “that are big enough to transplant” is a dangling modifier, unable to find a proper subject to modify in that sentence. It couldn’t logically modify the noun phrase “a nursery seedbed” that adjoins it. Its true subject is, of course, the noun phrase “the young rice shoots,” but the noun phrase “a nursery seedbed” gets in the way and prevents the modification from taking place.

A rewrite of that sentence is needed to make the dangling modifier logically connect to its true subject, as follows:

“Men plough the field and women pull out from a nursery seedbed the young rice shoots that are big enough to transplant.”
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 05:28:51 PM by Joe Carillo » Logged

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