Can prepositional phrases modify copular verbs?

Cassandra was a natural fit for the role because of her well-refined combat skills.

In the above quote (from a piece I wrote for my job), I have used the prepositional phrase ‘because of her well-refined combat skills’. Ordinarily, I would categorise this prepositional phrase as an adjunct, modifying the main verb of the clause (i.e. ‘was’), but I am curious whether this is true for copular/linking verbs. It seems quite existential, modifying a state of being rather than an action.


Yes, copular VPs can be modified by PPs, cf. I was happy when I met
her / I was at that time extremely happy / I was when I met her much
happier than I had been for several years (note that I take "when" to
be a preposition). The natural interpretation of the PP in your
example has it as an adjunct in clause structure.

Answer provided by BillJ.

Source : Link , Question Author : MJ Ada , Answer Author : MJ Ada

Leave a Comment