Predicate (definition)

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The term predicate has two different common usages. In traditional grammar it refers to the part of the sentence that describes what the subject is doing or their state, this usage is roughly equivalent to what Linguists call the [[Verb Phrase (definition). Linguists tend to use the predicate in the sense used by logicians. Where a predicate expresses a elationship between arguments. For example, in the sentence I ate the haggis, the verb eat is the predicate that relates the eater (I) to the thing that was eaten (the haggis). This linguistic usage often corresponds to the notion of a Verb (definition) but there are predicates that aren't verbs as in the bold faced phrases in I am in trouble. or I am fat.

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  • Carnie, A. (2013) Syntax: A Generative Introduction. 3rd Edition. Wiley Blackwell.