Section 6: Clause Types II-IV - Linking Verbs

Type II - Linking BE Verb + Adverb Phrase of Time / Place

While Type I clauses do not require anything to follow the verb, linking verbs require a complement to complete it. In the case of Type II clauses, a BE linking verb is required, along with a required adverbial complement - which completes the predicate and indicates time or place. Type II clauses are the least common of the clause types, primarily because both of these elements are REQUIRED for a clause to be Type II.

The adverbial complement includes adverbs of time or place (e.g. here, there, outside, inside, far, away). Prepositional phrases of time or place (e.g in the morning or at the stronghold) and nominal phrases (e.g. tomorrow, Friday) may also fill the complement slot. The following sentences demonstrate the variation in Type II clauses:

  1. Adverb: She is outside.
  2. Prepositional phrase: The troops are at the stronghold.
  3. Noun phrase: The attack will be tomorrow.

If there is more than one adverbial phrase that follows the linking BE verb, one of the phrases will be considered the complement while the other will be an optional adverbial modifier (which can be omitted):

The soldiers will be at the stronghold tomorrow.

  1. The soldiers will be at the stronghold.
  2. *The soldiers will be tomorrow.

In comparing the two sentences, at the stronghold is required, so it is the adverbial complement. Tomorrow is an optional adverbial modifier.

In assessing Type II clauses, a be /linking verb and an adverbial of time or place must be present.

Type III - Linking Verb + Adjectival Subject Complement

In this clause type, the slot that follows the linking verb is reserved for a subject complement, which modifies or describes the subject, but also completes the verb. In the case of a type III clause, the subject complement is always adjectival. Consider the following:

  1. Adjective: The soldiers were diligent in their duty.
  2. Adjectival clause: They look as if they could take on the world.
  3. Adjectival phrase: They are in good spirits.

Sentences (1) through (3) all exemplify Type III clauses. Sentence (1) is prototypical, with a clear adjective; however, sentence (2) is more difficult to break down. We have the linking verb look, but a clause is in the complement slot. In this case, we can determine if the clause is acting adjectivally by attempting to replace the entire clause with a single adjective, such as prepared. We can do the same for sentence (3) by replacing the prepositional phrase with content.

In assessing Type III clauses, we look for the be/linking verb, followed by an adjective/adjectival phrase.

Type IV - Linking Verb + Nominal Subject Complement

Type IV clauses are quite similar to Type III structures, except rather than an adjectival subject complement, there is a nominal subject complement. It fulfills a similar role as the subject complement in a Type III clause; however, in this case, it is always a nominal or something that is acting as a nominal. Furthermore, the nominal subject complement has the same referent as the subject.

Review the following examples:

  1. The engagement was a disaster.
  2. The battle was to end in severe loss.
  3. The outcome seemed a tragedy.

In sentences (1) through (3), the linking verb is followed by a nominal, which serves to rename the subject. In sentences (1) and (3), the subjects (the engagement and the outcome) refer to the same events as their complements (a disaster and a tragedy). The same is true for sentence (2), although an infinitive phrase fills the complement slot, functioning nominally to rename the battle.

In assessing Type IV clauses, a be/linking verb and a nominal in the predicate that serves as the subject complement must be present.

Overall, as described by the Clause Types analytical strategy, the KEY MARKERS for Clause Types II-IV are the presence of a BE Main Verb (as linking verb) with the different required subject complements in the predicate.

AND ONE FINAL NOTE: you will be expected to "type" all clauses in a particular sentence. Sentences (1) and (3) have only one clause, but sentence (2) would require that you "type" both clauses:

  1. They look as if they could take on the world. - Type III (linking verb + adjectival clause)
  2. as if they could take on the world - Type V (transitive verb + nominal direct object)

It is important to remember that our language is complex and clauses will be operating on a variety of levels. Seeing and understanding this depth is an important consideration when analyzing in context.