adjectives - Part of speech: "I am disappointed with"

  • Irwin

    In a construction such as, "John is disappointed with Alice", what part of speech is disappointed with? It appears to me that the "am" is a linking verb.

    Similarly, "Jessica is sad", it seems to me that "sad" is the same part of speech as disappointed with.

    One paper I'm reading claims that these are adverbs, but I am pretty sure this isn't the case, as "disappointed" doesn't describe "is". They feel like adjectives, but yet it's not assembled like a typical adjective would be ("Sad Jessica").

  • Answers
  • John Lawler

    People write papers about parts of speech? Good heavens.

    First, yes, be is always an auxiliary verb. Even if it's the only verb in the clause; the lexical item following be in that case is the real predicate.

    (Not a "linking verb", btw; that's grade school stuff, like "5 take away 2")

    And disappointed is indeed an adjective -- a predicate adjective since it takes an auxiliary be. It's what's called a "psych predicate", because it refers to a mental state of the subject. Like angry, scared, frightened, mad, surprised, etc.

    Since almost all predicate adjectives are intransitive, they can't take objects. However, they can be transitivized with prepositions. The prepositional phrase indicates the stimulus that has caused the mental state to the subject. But the prepositions vary; they're determined by the predicate, as usual.

    • I'm disappointed. ~ I'm disappointed at Max. ~ I'm disappointed with Max.
    • I'm angry. ~ I'm angry at Max. ~ I'm angry with Max. ~ *I'm angry of Max.
    • I'm mad. ~ I'm mad at Max. ~ *I'm mad with Max. ~ *I'm mad of Max.
    • I'm scared. ~ *I'm scared at Max. ~ *I'm scared with Max. ~ I'm scared of Max.
    • I'm surprised ~ I'm surprised at Max. ~ *I'm surprised with Max. ~ *I'm surprised of Max.

    Psych predicates are also called "Flip predicates" in the literature because they invert the usual roles of the subject as agent and the object as patient (Bill hit Max), instead flipping the subject to patient role, with the prepositional object functioning as cause, if not always agent.

    Psych predicates are often formed from past participles (like disappointed and scared) so they have the same form as passive, but they have to be distinguished from them because they don't allow agent by-phrases and they don't refer to an event, but rather a state. I.e, the two sentences below don't mean the same thing.

    • Bill was scared by Max. (an event; passive verb)
    • Bill was scared of Max. (a mental state; psych predicate adjective)

  • Related Question

    What part of speech is "chiropractic"?
  • Jay Bazuzi

    "Chiropractic" sounds like an adjective because of the "ic", but the title "Doctor of Chiropractic" seems like a noun.

    Am I just confused?

  • Related Answers
  • waiwai933

    The OED lists it as both an adjective and a noun. Other dictionaries, such as Wiktionary, list it as only a noun. Merriam-Webster Online, curiously enough, defines a noun, and lists a possible adjectival form as a related word, but doesn't seem to mention it again. Based on this, I would say it's definitely a noun.

    But is it also an adjective, as the OED supposes?

    The COCA has the various following usages:

    objected to chiropractic medicine because
    have received chiropractic treatment
    chiropractic consultation

    You wouldn't say "podiatry medicine", "podiatry treatment", or "podiatry consultation",. Instead, the proper way is to use the adjectival form: "podiatric medicine", "podiatric treatment", "podiatric consultation".

    Thus, chiropractic is both a noun and an adjective.

  • John M. Landsberg

    I agree that "chiropractory" is nonsense. "Chiropractic" is unquestionably a noun, in wide usage.

    And consider this: "Chiropractic" as a noun derives from the simple elision of "medicine" from the original phrase "chiropractic medicine," a still-valid phrase in which the original parts of speech are clear. Over time, the abbreviated usage came into being, presumably because it was just easier and faster to say.

    Taking it further: "Allopathic medicine" and "osteopathic medicine" are two other main branches of medical practice. These names refer to M.D.'s and D.O.'s. Most people would recognize these as the degrees that physicians usually have. In the U.S., one's primary doctor and most specialists are M.D.'s, but a huge percentage are D.O.'s, especially in the Midwest. They are legally, ethically, and functionally equivalent medical degrees, although the historical philosophic underpinnings of these two disciplines differ. And although the terms "allopathic medicine" and "osteopathic medicine" are not very commonly used, the proper derived form of each is "allopathy" and "osteopathy."

    Similarly, "chiropathy" (certainly not "chiropractory") would qualify as the proper noun form of "chiropractic medicine," but for reasons unclear to me, it is not much in use. It has been used, however, and can still be found in recent usage.

  • Mahnax

    Chiropractic just doesn't work for me as a noun (it sounds like an adjective) and since no one else really knows, I'm just going to use chiropractory as the noun!