grammar

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where is the subject/verb/object in this sentence:

 

Now is a good time to start thinking about your future.

asked May 03 '12 at 16:41 Jamie Chant New member

1 answer


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I hesitate to disagree with Tolley, but I would analyze the sentence differently.

I think that as an adverb, "Now" cannot be the subject of a sentence. I think that the sentence uses inversion for emphasis, and the subject is: "The time to start thinking about your future."

Consider the sentence: "The night is dark." For poetic emphasis, we could say, "Dark is the night!" But that would not make "dark" the subject of the sentence. As an adjective, "dark" cannot function as a subject.

While your sentence is more complex, it has the same grammatical structure. Basically, it is a sentence of the form "X is Y":

Subject or X: "The time to start thinking about your future"

Verb: "is"

Subject complement or Y: "now."

The sentence inverts the order for emphasis, but that does not alter its fundamental grammatical structure.

Note that "now" is a subject complement. It is not an object. The sentence does not have an object.

Some verbs, most prominently "to be" but also "to seem," "to appear," etc. are known as copulative or linking verbs. These verbs link the subject to something else. That something else "complements" or adds to the subject. The complement identifies the subject (e.g., "Stella is a doctor") or provides an attribute ("Stella is tall"). The complements in these two cases, "a doctor" and "tall," tell us something more about Stella. They refer back to Stella. They are not independent objects. Therefore, they are called "subject complements."

An easy way to distinguish copulative verbs that take complements from non-copulative verbs that take objects is to ask whether the part following the verb could be replaced by an adjective instead of a noun. In our examples above, "tall" is an adjective, "doctor" a noun, but the sentences work equally well. That is a clue that tells us "is" takes a complement, not an object.

If the sentence had been "Stella makes furniture," we couldn't replace "furniture" with an adjective: "Stella makes beautiful" would be meaningless or ungrammatical. So "makes" takes an object, not a complement.

What makes your original sentence a bit more complicated is the inversion, so that the complement precedes rather than follows the copula "is." Nevertheless, I would argue that analyzed for its grammatical structure, one should say that the subject of the sentence is "time", or more fully, "the time to start thinking about your future."

I would not say the sentence is in the passive voice.

link comment answered May 06 '12 at 20:45 verbose New member

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