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The predicative use of adjectives implies a set-subset relation: if an adjective A is predicated of a certain noun phrase, then the set of entities referred to by the noun phrase constitutes a subset of the set denoted by A; cf. Section The prototypical instance of this type of predication is found in the copular construction: an example such as (1) expresses that the set of entities referred to by the noun phrase de jongens'the boys' is a subset of the set denoted by the adjective rijk'rich'.

Copular construction
De jongens zijn rijk.
  the boys  are  rich

Dutch predicative adjectives do not show agreement with the argument they are predicated of; see Section 1.2 for a discussion of the attributive inflection on the adjective. Dutch differs in this respect from languages like Italian, in which predicatively used adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun phrase they are predicated of; see Baker (2008) and the references given there for a discussion of this type of agreement.

a. Marie is ziek.
  Marie is ill
b. Maria è malatafeminine,sg.
  Maria is  ill

This chapter is organized as follows. Section 6.1 will have a closer look at the noun phrase that the adjective is predicated of, and will argue that the relation between this noun phrase and the AP is similar in various respects to the relation between the VP and the subject of the clause. Sections 6.2 to 6.4 continue by discussing the various syntactic instantiations of the predicative construction; the organization of this part of this chapter is given in Table 1. Sections 6.5 to 6.7, finally, will discuss cases in which the adjective is not predicated of a noun phrase but of some other category: clauses, PPs and APs.

Table 1: The predicative use of the adjective
complementive i. copular construction Section 6.2.1
ii. resultative construction
iii. vinden‘consider’ -construction
supplementive Section 6.3
appositive Section 6.4

  • Baker, Mark2008The syntax of agreement and concordCambridgeCambridge University Press
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