EIMI -- copulative or stative

Jonathan Robie jonathan.robie at sagus.com
Thu Jul 29 07:56:45 EDT 1999

At 02:43 PM 7/28/99 -0700, shawn wrote:

>First Parsons' referred to it as a stative verb, which www.m-w.com defines
>as "expressing a state, condition, or relation".
>Black's text referred to it as a copulative verb, which he further defines
>as "...(from Lat. copulo, `I link together') because it links subject and
>So which is more accurate?  Are they basically saying the same thing or is
>there a slight difference between how they look at the verb?

There is no conflict between these two views - consider the following sentence:

         John is old.

In this sentence, "is" connects the subject "John" to the predicate "old". 
It also expresses a condition - in fact, what it does in this case is 
express the proposition that the predicate is a state or condition which 
applies to the subject.

Jonathan Robie
R&D Fellow, Software AG
jonathan.robie at sagus.com

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