Definition of predicative in English:

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Pronunciation: /prɪˈdɪkətɪv/


1 Grammar (Of an adjective or noun) forming or contained in the predicate, as old in the dog is old (but not in the old dog) and house in there is a large house. Contrasted with attributive.
Example sentences
  • These effects can be explained if we consider more closely the function of attributive and predicative adjectives.
  • Some adjectives are predicative only, as with afraid, loath, and aware in: Your brother is afraid of them, My friends seem loath to interfere, The manager became aware of her attitude.
  • When an adjective follows a form of be (or a few other verbs which I don't want to talk about), it is known as a predicative adjective.
1.1Denoting a use of the verb to be to assert something about the subject.
Example sentences
  • Having said that, however, it has also to be said that he regarded the last two as closely related, with the predicative use being marked by an element of identity, and the identity use being marked by an element of predication.
  • A curious fact about adjectives and the way they modify nominals is that very often predicative uses have a more limited range of meanings than the attributive uses.
  • The next relevant fact is that many adjectives take up more than a single word, as in the following predicative examples.
2 Logic Acting as a predicate.
Example sentences
  • Humphreys emphasizes that fusion is a ‘real physical operation, not a mathematical or logical operation on predicative representations of properties.’
  • In contrast to Aristotle, Brentano emphasizes the importance of existential judgements with only one term, and claims that predicative judgements are a special case of existential ones.
  • So, just as the existential and predicative uses are not unrelated, neither are the predicative, identity, and generic implication uses unrelated.



Pronunciation: /prɪˈdɪkətɪvli/
Example sentences
  • When adjectival and nominal expressions are used predicatively, they need to be ‘converted’ into verbal expressions; typically, this is achieved by the use of the verb be: be white, be a vehicle.
  • You go on to observe that, though scant certainly appears to be an adjective, it can't be used predicatively: * This cup of sugar is scant.


Mid 19th century: from Latin praedicativus, from praedicat- 'declared' (in medieval Latin 'predicated'), from the verb praedicare (see predicate).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pre¦dica|tive

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