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Kenny同志

請教:grammar of 'run naked'

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Kenny同志

Hi everybody, why do people use "naked" rather than "nakedly"?

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imron

Because here naked isn't describing the verb run, it is short for run (while being) naked.

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Kenny同志

Thanks Imron. So can I say "sleep naked", or "talk naked"? Could you provide a few examples that use a different adjective?

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realmayo

"Sleep naked" is fine (and common), "talk naked" is fine.

Can we say "naked" is an adjective describing the state of the person/thing that is doing the verb?

I don't like answering questions cold.*

= I don't like answering questions when I'm cold (either literally or figuratively i.e. no time to prepare, think about it)

He answered the questions coldly.

= The answers were cold, i.e. unfriendly, aloof

Is there any equivalence in Chinese?

*this isn't the most natural-sounding sentence I can think of but in context it works okay, e.g. "senator here's a reporter, can she ask you a few questions about yesteday".

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li3wei1

I definitely party naked. To do something 'nakedly' doesn't necessarily mean 'in a state of undress', it can mean 'without disguising ones intentions or efforts'. The adjective can also have this meaning. 'Naked aggression' doesn't mean starting a fight without your clothes on, it means picking up a weapon and waving it at someone, and yelling, 'want some of this, fat boy?'

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Kenny同志

Thanks Realmayo and Liwei. I think I've got it; the structure means do something in the state of the adjective. Now I have a new question, can most adjectives be used this way? For example, is "walk sleepy" proper English?

Is there any equivalence in Chinese?

I am not sure but I can't think of any example that resembles this structure.

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realmayo

Walk sleepy: I'm not sure it's definitely wrong but it sounds very odd.

Compare with "he walked into the office sleepy."

To my ears this sounds much much better. My guess is that there's uncertainty in "walk sleepy" because we have to think hard about what is modifying what. It's much more obvious what's being modified in the second sentence -- "he" is being modified. Compare: "he walked into the office sleepily" -- here it's the nature of his walking that's being modified (by what is now an adverb, "sleepily").

Some do work a bit better: "he drove drunk" = he drove while he was drunk.

Perhaps these contractions (if that is what they are) are only really acceptable where they are already well-established, or where used in jargon (and therefore well-established within a group of specialists). Not because they are grammatically wrong, as such, but because they are tricky to understand as a listener.

Also: I wonder if this usage is restricted to describing the state you are in before you begin the action?

Finally: I don't know how to explain "think smart", "act quick". :P Why not "act quickly"?

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realmayo

On reflection, "act quick" may simply be a usage which used to be ungrammatical but which is now increasingly used without sounding wrong, especially in the US.

Plus: Apple had a slogan "think different". To me, by choosing "different" over "differently", the slogan pushes the what-is-different further back up the chain, so that it involves more than just the verb "think" and addresses the state of the actor, i.e. it implies that you must be a bit different when you do this thinking, & not just think differently. (It's also a much more snappy imperative which is maybe why they chose it instead of "differently".)

Of course, a simpler explanation of all these is that a few adjectives behave as adverbs.

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Kenny同志

Thank you very much for the comments, Mayo. I think I will just have to commit these well-established phrases to memory.

I wonder if this usage is restricted to describing the state you are in before you begin the action?

Isn't this usage used to describe the state one is in when doing something, i.e. being engaged in the action? For example, "drive drunk" means drive while one is drunk.

Or I've misunderstood the quoted sentence?

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li3wei1

Flying blind is another one.

It has nothing to do with whether you were in the state before you started the action. You can become blind while flying (or fly into a cloud), you can get drunk while driving, and you can take your clothes off without stopping the party.

'think different' is an example (I think) of another set of constructions, such as 'think big', 'think small', and I believe a long time ago there was a famous advertisement with the slogan 'think mink'.

'Think smart' makes me vomit, along with 'work smart'.

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creamyhorror
Can we say "naked" is an adjective describing the state of the person/thing that is doing the verb?

Is there any equivalence in Chinese?

Isn't "running naked" pretty much the same thing as 裸身[地]跑步?

Isn't this usage used to describe the state one is in when doing something, i.e. being engaged in the action? For example, "drive drunk" means drive while one is drunk.

That's correct. "Drive drunk" means "drive in a drunk state".

To my mind, "think different" can be interpreted in two ways, and I've never figured out which was intended:

1) verb + 'noun': think about [the concept of different]

2) verb + adjective-working-as-adverb: think [differently]

(Personally I've gotten used to the American propensity to use adjectives as adverbs ["shine bright" instead of "shine brightly", etc.] even though I found it strange at first. I even say "different than" sometimes, but only when "different from" doesn't work.)

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Kenny同志
Isn't "running naked" pretty much the same thing as 裸身[地]跑步?

A natural way of saying this is 裸跑, or 裸奔.

Thanks for the comment, Creamyhorror.

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creamyhorror

No problem. And thanks for the correction.

That's correct. "Drive drunk" means "drive in a drunk state".

I just realised I should mention that this [verb]+[adjective] structure most commonly means "[verb(change)] into state [adjective]", for example in:

  • "paint [something] yellow"
  • "make [someone] happy"
  • "drive [someone] mad"
  • "turn green with envy"
  • "burn to ash" is a related structure using a phrase ("to ash") instead

The other interpretation "[verb] while in state [adjective]", as in "drive drunk", is perhaps less common, but is handy when you want to express a state without too much emphasis:

  • "He danced naked on the field."

-- as opposed to

  • "Naked, he danced on the field."
  • "He danced on the field, naked."
  • "He was naked as he danced on the field."

You no doubt know all this already, but I just wanted to be clear for any learners.

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Kenny同志
I just realised I should mention that this [verb]+[adjective] structure most commonly means "[verb(change)] into state [adjective]", for example in:
  • "paint [something] yellow"
  • "make [someone] happy"
  • "drive [someone] mad"
  • "turn green with envy"
  • "burn to ash" is a related structure using a phrase ("to ash") instead


I had no problem with these phrases but thanks again for being so thorough. :D

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renzhe
Flying blind is another one.

Yeah, this refers to flying in a state of being blind. Or a state comparable to being blind.

The phrase "flying blindly" reminds me of "guessing blindly" or "trying blindly" or "walking blindly": random, unthinking attempts, hoping to get it right by luck. Not the best approach when flying :D

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tooironic

'Run naked' as a translation for 裸奔 is fine but I would prefer 'go on a nude run' or even 'streak'.

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anonymoose

I think there's a difference between "run naked" and "naked run".

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Michaelyus

After a little bit of research, I've found that this question actually touches on a knotty and rather interesting feature of complements in English.

Adjectives after the verb (including after the noun acting as object) fall into several categories:

With "to paint something black", the characterisation is rather well-known: a complex transitive verb that takes a direct object and then an object complement (which in this case takes the form of an adjective). Compare "they declare the nation independent"; "that made us ill"; "I consider him rather ill-suited for this post". Those verbs which are causative in meaning naturally take object complements with their direct object. The adjective of the object complement describes the direct object.

Best known is that of linking/copular verbs: "He is cold"; "It is becoming warmer", "he appears bemused", "they are feeling sad", "this is proving difficult", "he remains genteel", "she seems nice"; this includes several sense verbs: "The food smells wonderful". The adjective here behaves as the subject complement, and is required by the verb (the other being the noun phrase acting as subject, of course).

With the sentence "He walked into the office sleepy", we have a subject, an intransitive verb, an adverbial [of place] acting as adjunct, and... an adjective that modifies the subject but after the subject noun... indeed after the verb. Is it a subject complement? I'd be reluctant to say so. Compare "He appeared, dapper (as always)" with "He appeared dapper (that morning)"; granted, the semantics of the verb have changed somewhat; nonetheless, the former with the intransitive verb has what I would see as an adjunct describing the subject, whilst the latter with its linking verb has a fully-fledged indispensable subject complement.

Adjectives that act as adjuncts modifying the object also exist; "He eats his toast cold". Here, is the final adjective an adjunct or a complement? But then, with "He prefers his toast cold", there is no doubt that this is a complement situation. Does this mean subject complements and object complements with single adjectives behave differently then? Furthermore, both seem to be different from adverbs and adverbials.

Adjectives can both be subsumed under arguments: "He eats his cold toast"; and can play the whole adjunct/complement: "He eats his toast cold". In this case at least, the role of the adjective interacts with the grammatical aspect of the verb.

Knotty indeed.

Note: I've realised Wikipedia calls this complement a "predicative expression", which I've never really heard before. Looking at the article, it seems some sentences can be analysed as having adverbs acting as "predicative expression"; and for subject complements at least it seems the adjective can be both adjunct and "predicative expression".

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