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predicate nominative

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Definition:

The traditional term for a noun, pronoun, or other nominal that follows a linking verb. The contemporary term for a predicate nominative is subject complement.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "Today is a king in disguise."
    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


  • "We are the world
    We are the children
    We are the ones who make a brighter day
    So let's start giving.
    (Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, "We Are the World," 1985)


  • "The predicate nominative is used with the verb to be and all its forms: be, am, is, are, was, were and been. Think of the verb as an equal sign: What's on one side of it is the same as what's on the other side, especially when it comes to pronoun case.

    "For example, when you answer a phone and someone asks for you, you should say, This is he or This is she. You know the subject is in the nominative case. He or she is the predicate nominative. Going by the rules you should say It is I. Through widespread use, however, It's me has become acceptable."
    (Buck Ryan and Michael J. O'Donnell, The Editor's Toolbox: A Reference Guide for Beginners and Professionals. Wiley-Blackwell, 2001)


  • A Complement Question

    Q. Can a predicate nominative and a predicate adjective be found in the same sentence?" asked a writer.

    A. They certainly can. Here is an example: "He is a house husband and quite content." The subject of the sentence is he. The verb is is a linking verb. The noun husband is a predicate nominative and the adjective content is a predicate adjective. Both types of subject complements follow a single linking verb. Contemporary grammarians view the entire phrase a house husband and quite content as a single subject complement.
    (Michael Strumpf and Auriel Douglas, The Grammar Bible. Macmillan, 2004)
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