edonoghue at BLACKWELLPUBLISHERS.CO.UK
Thu Jan 20 17:26:10 UTC 2000
The verb is "is", which is the third person singular indicative present of
the verb "to be"
The words "less dense than water" form an adjectival clause attached to the
The confusion is due to the fact that English is no longer an inflected
language. If it were, then it would immediately be obvious that "less dense"
would agree with "ice", and "than water" is completing a simple comparative
Just one little argument to show that the Anglo-Saxons (and indeed the
Romans, Greeks and countless others) did have some linguistic advantages
over us "more advanced" modern types, at least in terms of grammatical
"Water", incidentally, cannot be the object, because the verb "to
be" doesn't take an object but (where necessary) a "complement" in the same
case. In this sentence no such complement is necessary because the act of
being is sufficient unto itself and qualified by the adjectival clause. Thje
function of "water" in the sentence is governed by "than", in that it is not
an object but a part of the comparative. Again, this would be clear in an
inflected language because it would not take the accusative of the object,
but either a convenient nominative or (more correctly) a genitive of
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gerald van Koeverden [SMTP:gvk at CIACCESS.COM]
> Sent: 20 January 2000 14:38
> To: FUNKNET at listserv.rice.edu
> Subject: the verb
> In the sentence "Ice is less dense than water," we both agree that "ice"
> and "water"
> are the subject and object. But what is the verb?
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