The Predicator (underlined) is the non-finite element of all major clauses “realised by a verbal group minus the temporal or modal operator” (H & M, p.121). In the clause The sun was shining, for example, the Predicator is shining. It may also be a longer group, such as the Predicator in He has been trying to be heard. The Predicator may also be ‘fused’ with the Finite. The clause She played tennis, for example, consists of a fused Finite (did) + Predicator (play). The two then separate when forming the negative (She didn’t play tennis) or the question (Did she play tennis). The exceptions to this are is and have.
There are four functions to the Predicator (underlined):
- It “specifies time other than reference to the time of the speech event”, that is, ‘secondary tense’ (we are going to release the document);
- It “specifies various other aspects and phases such as seeming, hoping, trying” (you’ll have to make it look a lot clearer);
- It “specifies the voice: active or passive” (Brazil wasn’t discovered);
- It “specifies the process (action, event, mental process, relation)”
(H & M, p.122).
The Predicator is “realized by the lexical verb, that part of the verb which you might look up in a dictionary” (Bloor & Bloor, p.43).