Sunday, August 6, 2017

Verbs: Episode 8, BE*

BE is an immensely complicated verb.  People like me can beat the dead horse, force some poison down the dead horse's throat, and then rub some salt in its wounds.

In my past postings, I've touched on how complicated the meanings, usage, and conjugation of this verb is.  Here, let's explore one more complicated aspect of the usage.

Another form of sentence pattern (see Verbs: Episode 7 for a few more examples) is when the subject is equated with an adjective (subject = adjective) and the verb can be a sensory verb, like taste, smell, feel, etc.  When the verb can be replaced with the BE form, this is a linking verb.

Active verb (linking verb)
BE verb (= an adjective)
The soup tastes salty.
The soup is salty.
My blanket feels scratchy.
My blanket is scratchy.
This flowers smells stinky.
This flower is stinky.

To make this more amusing, this can be quickly misused with adverbs (inanimate objects should not take adverbs).  This is most common with "good" (adjective) and "well" (adverb).  Watch this:

Active verb (linking verb)
BE verb (= an adverb, like "feel")
The soup tastes well.
The soup is well (it feels well?).
This flower smells badly.
This flower is badly (it feels badly?).
I feel really ill.
I am really ill (I feel really ill).

It's not uncommon to see this when adjectives and adverbs are confused.  Soup can't taste well unless it has a tongue and the ability to taste things.  I can taste well, but this seems like a strange statement because who can say if I taste well or better than anyone else?  Then again, aren't there super-tasters that learn to taste subtle differences in food and food additives?  I'm sure they taste really well!

Is the horse dead yet?

*This footnote means nothing.  I'm just checking to see if anyone is reading this.

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