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Grammar help needed...parsing and diagramming related


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My educated guesses: :-)

 

1. Pretty sure that "what his wife had just told him" is not a gerund phrase. A gerund is a verb made into a noun, usually by adding the suffix -ing.

 

2. "Out" is definitely not a preposition in this sentence. I would think it's an adverb, modifying "turned."

 

3. Wouldn't "just about" be adjectives modifying "creature"? Or "about" would be an adjective modifying creature, and "just" would be an adverb modifying "about."

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No, not a gerund phrase. This is a clause, if memory serves me. Because it had its own subject and verb, that makes it a clause, not a phrase. It seems that the clause would serve as the object of the preposition about.

 

To work is an infinitive, modifying was beginning. However, I would say it is the direct object itself, not plan. I think plan is the object of the infinitive to work. (Out is an adverb, not part of the infinitive.)

 

I think turn is the verb, light is the direct object, out is an adverb modifying turn.

 

Just and about are adverbs. About tells to whay degree it has. And just modifies about, telling what degree it's about.

 

That's how I would parse these sentences if it were me.

Edited by Kinsa
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Those are some tough sentences!  I'm not an expert, but this is what I would make of them....

 

1) I'd agree that "about" is a preposition. "What his wife had just told him" is a noun clause acting as the object of the preposition "about." 

That whole section, "Thinking about what his wife had just told him," is a participial phrase describing "the cob."  

"Thinking..." is not a gerund phrase because a gerund/gerund phrase acts as a noun, as Ellie pointed out.  In this particular sentence "thinking...him" is not acting as a noun but as an adjective describing the cob. Therefore, it is not a gerund phrase but a participial phrase.
 

 

I'd also agree that "to work out a plan for his son Louis" is an infinitive phrase. 

 

"He was beginning to work out a plan for his son Louis"  is an independent clause. 

He- subject

was beginning - verb

"to work out a plan for his son Louis" - infinitive phrase acting as a direct object.  Within this infinitive phrase, "plan" is the direct object of the verbal "to work out."

 

2) "Turned out the light"

I would say that "turned out" is a two-word verb.  It could be replaced with one verb, "extinguished" (although nobody ever says that anymore!)   It would not make sense to say that he "turned the light." Nor would it make sense to say "out the light."  So, I think the most likely conclusion is that "turned out" is a two-word verb, as you thought.

 

3) "It has just about every creature..."

I'd agree that "it" is the subject, "has" is the verb, "creature" is the direct object.

 

"Every" is definitely an adjective, modifying "creature."  The sentence could have said, "It has every creature..." 

I would say that "about" is an adverb, modifying the adjective "every."  It doesn't have EVERY creature, it has ABOUT every creature that exists.

Then I would say that "just" is an adverb modifying "about."  It has very close to almost/about every creature.

 

I guess I'd say "just" and "about" are both adverbs of degree. 

 

 

 

(ETA: I can delete this if I quoted too much. It's hard to explain without quoting the sentence parts. )

Edited by yvonne
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The noun clause "what his wife had told him" is the object of the phrasal verb "thinking about."  The presence of a preposition in a phrasal verb does not change the object of the verb into an object of a preposition, as such. "Work out" and "turn out" in number 2 are also phrasal verbs. I think "out" is an adverb in those phrases as nothing is literally going out of anything.

 

In number three clearly "it" is the subject and "creature" is the object, but what "just about" is doing is a harder question for me. I can't decide whether it's modifying the object or the verb. Does it really matter?

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The noun clause "what his wife had told him" is the object of the phrasal verb "thinking about."  The presence of a preposition in a phrasal verb does not change the object of the verb into an object of a preposition, as such.

 

Phrasal or multi-word verbs always make me stop & think. The only rule of thumb I've found for deciding whether a verb + prep is a phrasal or a multi-word verb is 1) to look at whether the two words (verb + prep) could be replaced by a single-word verb and 2) to look at whether the prep makes sense as part of the rest of a phrase.  So, for example, "turn out" could be replaced by "extinguish" ("extinguish the light"), but "out" would not make sense with "out the light." And "work out" could be replaced by "developed" (a plan), but "out a plan" would not make sense, so there's no way "out" could be a preposition in either of these two examples.

 

"Thinking about" could be replaced by "pondering" ("pondering what his wife had just told him"), but it would make just as much sense to say "about what his wife had just told him." So, I think it could go either way.... "thinking about" could be a participial phrase with the noun clause as a direct object, or "about what ...him" could be a prepositional phrase modifying the participle "thinking."

 

Personally, I tend to think that "thinking" in this sentence is a participle, modifying "cob."  The sentence could be reduced to "the cob stood quietly, thinking."  Because it wouldn't make sense to say, "The cob stood quietly, thinking about," I don't think that "thinking about" is a phrasal verb. I think "about" is more attached to the phrase, "about what his wife had said."

 

After a certain point, grammar becomes more of an art than a science and there may be more than one way to label something.

Edited by yvonne
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Whew!  Thanks VERY much, ladies.

I had to take ds for driving practice, and I'm just now looking at this.

I'm going to have to chew on your answers and try to understand them.

Give me a few minutes, and if I have questions, I'll post.

I really appreciate your help!

 

 

Edited by Sweet Home Alabama
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Ok, for the first sentence...

 

"thinking about what his wife had just told him"

I can see that being a participial phrase.  Just help me with this... which adjective question proves that this is an adjective modifying "cob"?

I see why "about" is a preposition and "what his wife had just told him" is a noun clause functioning as the object of the preposition. (I should have seen that!  :001_smile: )

 

"he was beginning to work out a plan for his little son Louis"

What threw me with this one is that "work out" could have been hyphenated (work-out) which would have been the object of the infinitive "to". 

For this one, the S/V is he/was beginning.  Slanted under the verb should be the infinitive "to". The object of the infinitive is "work" and the DO is plan.  Out is an adverb modifying work.

 

Kinsa, I don't think I understand your comment.  Seems like you are saying "to work" is both the infinitive and the DO. Would you help me understand what you mean? 

Yvonne, wouldn't the infinitive phrase be "to work out a plan"? Because (for his son Louis) is a prepositional phrase.

 

 

"Sam...got (into bed), turned out the light, and lay there wondering why a dog always stretches when it wakes up.

I agree with the subject (Sam), verb (turned), adverb (out), and DO (light). 

No questions.

 

"(zoo) It has just about every creature that....."

I agree with just and about being adverbs.  Yvonne, thank you for asking the adverb questions that prove.  That helped a lot.

 

Again, thank you EVERYONE!

Could you help me with the above just for clarification?

:)

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