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By Jud Evans


The term copula (plural copulae) refers to so-called equating or linking verbs that
link the subject with the complement of a sentence. In the case of English, this is
the word /be/ and its conjugations: *was, were, am, is and are* which are in fact
not different kinds of verbs at all. I reject the old description of copulae as
*verbs* out of hand. As is well known verbs are *doing* words - and copula do
not DO anything at all, they merely point at words which do describe what the
subject of a sentence does (i.e. those words which form the predicate of a

Such archaic grammatical classification has its origins in monkish medieval

misunderstandings and creationist wishful thinking. All scholastic semanticists
and gothic god-botherering wordifiers of the middle ages were influenced by
creation myths. Such amusing but highly implausible stories are overabundant
with the gerundial reification of unworldly ex nihilio transcendentalisms like
/being/ and /existence/ and other useful religious fictions designed to promote a
material – transcendendant ontological duality. Torture and the inquisitorial
bonfire was the result for anyone that disagreed.


The sentential formation is: subject + linking verb + information about the
subject. Their semantic cargo is to indicate and confirm the numerical and
temporal relations between the sentential subjectival and objectival concord as
expressed in its predicative existential modality/modalities of number and time ,
such as: "was, were, am, is and are," words which normally precede a predicate.
Thus: I am (first-person singular) you are/thou art (second-person singular) he,
she, one or it is (third-person singular) we are (first-person plural) you are/ye are
(second-person plural) they are (third-person plural.)

Such copulae operate to describe the existential nature (modality) of an existent

NOT the fact that it exists. Thus Descartes’ infamous cogito really means:

“I think therefore I am thinking.”

The simple self-referential use of the pronoun *I* is quite sufficient to instantiated
the ontologically confused Frenchman as a human existent. We do not need the
formulaic self-referential confirmative subsumptions that Descartes considered
necessary for the recognition and incorporation of one's humanness under a
more general category of human. It is not the utterance of abstract nouns, verbal
frequentatives (like: I think) or the reificative lexical shells and their contents
which confirm our existence as homo-sapiens. We are aware that we exist as
human beings at a much deeper non-lexical neurological level without the need to
articulate the obvious. We require no verbal, algorithmic mantra like: I think
therefore I am nor the mouthing of the usefully encoded first-person personal
pronouns: 'I' and 'me' to corroborate our membership of the human race.

In our SVO (subject-verb-object) language English the sentence structure is such

that the subject comes first, the copula or verb second, and the object or
predicate third. Thus we can have:

"President Obama is eating ice cream" = "The nominatum (that which is

nominated by the self instantiating noun President Obama presently exists in the
modality of eating ice cream."
Therefore the little copula /is/ functions as a shortened, more convenient, anti-
periphrastic form of saying:

*the self instantiating noun X presently exists in the modality of blah, blah, blah.*

The utterance or sensorial awareness of ANY noun is automatically sufficient
enough to neurologically instantiate it as a representative instance of such an

Experientially most people thinking of the word "President Obama" will cognise
of a male person, known or unknown - living or dead.

If in the unlikely event of a person owning a parrot called "President Obama" it is

quite possible that the word will be mentally instantiated in the form of a brightly
coloured zygodactyl tropical bird with a short hooked beak and the ability to
mimic sounds.

In other words in most cases humans have a neuro-bank full of ready-made

predicative templates available to be applied to any provisional denotatum. The
copula /is/ syntactically refers back to and agrees with the self instantiated
singularity *President Obama.* The sentence "President Obama is eating ice
cream" contains the appropriate singular form of the present continuous - /is/
followed by the present participle /eating/.


That's it! That is all there is to it! The secret behind the infamous confusion
between the spurious entiative FACT that an entity exists versus a simple
statement of the descriptive existential modality of a subject is anticlimactic. The
copulae: "was, were, am, is and are" are operative variables that point to that
part of a sentence which describes the subject's existential state or states.”

So much for the collective confusion that we have inherited from obsessively
creationist historical commentators like Aquinas and his black habited
cohabitors. So much too for modern transcendentalists, who, imprinted since
birth with a debilitating notions of an ontological duality, continue to insist on
attributing unworldly complexity to real objects. Contrary to our mutual
brainwashing as children, copulae are not grammatical elements designed
specifically to act as meaningless catenulate links syntactically connecting
elements of a sentence.


The so-called copula /is/ never, ever bespeaks of the FACT that something exists
(is simply present in the world bereft of any properties) but always functions in
the essive case of, relating to, or being the grammatical case indicating a state of
being or an existence in a particular capacity or state.

The so-called * is of existence* lacks any factual basis and not one shred of
historical validity for the instantiaton of ALL nouns is neurologically
spontaneous. Ontological opinion regarding their actual entiative status or
pseudo transcendental (entitive) presence in the world is provided by the
addressor and the addressee respectively.

When we speak of a copula we really mean a numero-temporal variable that
points to the existential modalic information contained at a predicative sentential
address. When we talk about a copula "referring backwards" to the self-
instantiating head subject we mean whatever instantiated subject is to be
descriptively reconciled with its predicate.

We “dereference” or "scan the data of a copula by retrieving the semantic value

of the information available at the predicative address. Dereferencing occurs in
copula-depletive languages like Russian and most Semitic languages where the
copula is dispensed with as intuitively unnecessary in the present continuous. i.e
*Ivan soldat.* (Ivan is a soldier.*)

I am in complete agreement regarding the importance of the Korzybskian-style e-

prime abandoment of /be/. It is truly time to initiate a long overdue turn away
from the expression-stifling convenience and ontological misreading of the
confusing and confining copula.