Predicate Nominative




Predicate Nominative :


Any sentence of which the predicate is a transitive verb followed by an object may be changed from the active to the passive form without affecting the sense.

Active : Richard shot the bear.
Passive : The bear was shot by Richard.

In this change….

(1) Bear, the object of the active verb shot, becomes the subject of the passive verb was shot.

(2) Richard, the subject of the active verb shot, becomes by Richard, an adverbial phrase, modifying the passive verb was shot.

Thus we have the rule….

The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive and the subject of the active verb becomes in the passive an adverbial phrase modifying the predicate verb.

Active Voice…….Passive Voice

1. My cat caught a bird. …….A bird was caught by my cat.

2. Austin thanked Charles. …….Charles was thanked by Austin.

3. The bullet penetrated a tree. …….A tree was penetrated by the bullet.

4. Sargent painted that portrait. …….That portrait was painted by Sargent.

5. The fireman had saved the child. …….The child had been saved by the fireman.

Intransitive verbs are ordinarily used in the active voice only.

1. The bystanders laughed.
2. The watchdogs bark.
3. Snow is falling.

An intransitive verb followed by a preposition is often used in the passive, the object of the preposition becoming the subject of the verb.

Active Voice…….Passive Voice

1. Everybody laughed at him. …….He was laughed at by everybody.

2. The attorney general has not yet passed upon this bill. …….This bill has not yet been passed upon.

3. He has tampered with this lock. …….This lock has been tampered with.

4. The cart ran over me. …….I was run over by the cart.

Other examples are :

1. talk about (= discuss)
2. look or inquire into (= investigate)
3. look upon (= regard)
4. jeer at (= deride)
5. reason with
6. object to
7. insist upon
8. act upon

Note : In this idiom, the preposition is treated like an ending attached to the verb to make it transitive. In other words, laugh at, pass upon, etc., are treated as compound verbs and the object of the preposition is, in effect, the object of the compound. In the passive, this object becomes the subject and the preposition (now lacking an object) remains attached to the verb. The passive construction is well established, but not always graceful.

The passive of some verbs of choosing, calling, naming, making, and thinking may be followed by a predicate nominative.

Active Voice…….Passive Voice

(PREDICATE OBJECTIVE) …….(PREDICATE NOMINATIVE)

We elected John president. …….John was elected president.

The Roman people called the chief friend. …….The chief was called friend by the Roman people.

The herald proclaimed him emperor. …….He was proclaimed emperor by the herald.

Note : In the active voice, these verbs may take two objects referring to the same person or thing,—a direct object and a predicate objective. In the passive, the direct object becomes the subject and the predicate objective becomes a predicate nominative, agreeing with the subject.


Predicate Nominative :







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