Update: 2009-05-24 04:58 PM +0800

TIL

TIL English Grammar

01. Parts of Speech

c01Pts-Speech.htm

A compilation by U Kyaw Tun and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ). Not for sale.

In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic.
In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education, punctuation around quotation marks is more apt to follow logic. In American style, then, you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design." But in England you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design".

 

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A phrase is a group of two or more grammatically linked words without a subject and predicate -- a group of grammatically-linked words with a subject and predicate is called a clause.

The group "teacher both students and" is not a phrase because the words have no grammatical relationship to one another. Similarly, the group "bay the across" is not a phrase.

In both cases, the words need to be rearranged in order to create phrases. The group "both teachers and students" and the group "across the bay" are both phrases.

You use phrase to add information to a sentence and can perform the functions of a subject, an object, a subject or object complement, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb.

The highlighted words in each of the following sentences make up a phrase:

She bought some spinach when she went to the corner store.
Lightning flashed brightly in the night sky.
They heard high pitched cries in the middle of the night.
In early October, Giselle planted twenty tulip bulbs; unfortunately, squirrels ate the bulbs and none bloomed.
Small children often insist that they can do it by themselves.

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0701.Function of Phrases
0101.1.Verb Phrase
0101.2.Noun Phrase
0101.3. Adjective Phrase
0101.4. Adverb Phrase
0751. Review: Phrase Functions

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0701. Function Of Phrases

A phrase may function as:
1. a verb,
2. a noun,
3. an adjective, or
4. an adverb, or
 

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0101.1. Verb Phrase

A verb phrase consists of a verb, its direct and/or indirect objects, and any adverb, adverb phrases, or adverb clauses which happen to modify it. The predicate of a clause or sentence is always a verb phrase:

Corinne is trying to decide whether she wants to go to medical school or to go to law school.
He did not have all the ingredients the recipe called for; therefore, he decided to make something else.
After she had learned to drive, Alice felt more independent.
We will meet at the library at 3:30 p.m.

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0101.2. Noun Phrase

A noun phrase consists of a pronoun or noun with any associated modifiers, including adjectives, adjective phrases, adjective clauses, and other nouns in the possessive case.

Like a noun, a noun phrase can act as a subject, as the object of a verb or verbal, as a subject or object complement, or as the object of a preposition, as in the following examples:

subject:
     Small children
often insist that they can do it by themselves.
object of a verb:
    
To read quickly and accurately is Eugene's goal.
object of a preposition:
    
The arctic explorers were caught unawares by the spring breakup.
subject complement:
    
Frankenstein is the name of the scientist not the monster.
object complement:
    
I consider Loki my favorite cat.

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Noun Phrases using Verbals
(by David Megginson)

Since some verbals -- in particular, the gerund and the infinitive -- can act as nouns, these also can form the nucleus of a noun phrase:

Ice fishing is a popular winter pass-time.

However, since verbals are formed from verbs, they can also take direct objects and can be modified by adverbs. A gerund phrase or infinitive phrase, then, is a noun phrase consisting of a verbal, its modifiers (both adjectives and adverbs), and its objects:

Running a marathon in the Summer is thirsty work.
I am planning to buy a house next month.

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0101.3. Adjective Phrase

An adjective phrase is any phrase which modifies a noun or pronoun. You often construct adjective phrases using participles or prepositions together with their objects:

I was driven mad by the sound of my neighbour's constant piano practising.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "of my neighbour's constant piano practising" acts as an adjective modifying the noun "sound".

My father-in-law locked his keys in the trunk of a borrowed car.

Similarly in this sentence, the prepositional phrase "of a borrowed car" acts as an adjective modifying the noun "trunk".

We saw Peter dashing across the quadrangle.

Here the participle phrase "dashing across the quadrangle" acts as an adjective describing the proper noun "Peter".

We picked up the records broken in the scuffle.

In this sentence, the participle phrase "broken in the scuffle" modifies the noun phrase "the records".

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0101.4. Adverb Phrase

A prepositional phrase can also be an adverb phrase, functioning as an adverb, as in the following sentences.

She bought some spinach when she went to the corner store.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "to the corner store" acts as an adverb modifying the verb "went".

Lightning flashed brightly in the night sky.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "in the night sky" functions as a adverb modifying the verb "flashed".

In early October, Giselle planted twenty tulip bulbs; unfortunately, squirrels ate the bulbs and none bloomed.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "in early October" acts as an adverb modifying the entire sentence.

We will meet at the library at 3:30 P.M.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "at 3:30 P.M." acts as an adverb modifying the verb phrase "will meet".

The dogs were capering about the clown's feet.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "about the clown's feet" acts as an adverb modifying the verb phrase "were capering".

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0751. Review: Phrase Functions

Identify the function of the phrase highlighted in the following sentences as:
a. Subject     b. Complement     c. Object     d. Predicate     e. Adjective     f. Adverb

01. Question:
The projectionist dreamt that he chased an enormous gorilla around the theatre.

02. Question:
Justine hoped to attend the masquerade even though her guardian had forbidden such adventures.

03. Question:
The child dancing about the stage hopes to become a movie star.

04. Question:
The reporter consulted a number of published accounts before interviewing the senator.

05. Question:
The party was a dreadful failure because the caterers forgot to bring the tableware.

06. Question:
The guild is meeting to discuss the latest misdemeanours of the apprentices.

07. Question:
They heard high pitched cries in the middle of the night.

08. Question:
Megan believed that dreaming about grapes meant that she should skip Latin class.

09. Question:
The guard woken from his sleep by the burglar alarm knocked a bowl of potato chips off the desk.

10. Question:
The reporter consulted a number of published accounts before interviewing the senator.

11. Question:
The bar was full of patiently waiting customers.

12. Question:
I was driven mad by the sound of my neighbour's constant piano practising.

13. Question:
The committee gave our neighbourhood association an award for innovative tree planting.

14. Question:
I hate camping and nothing you tell me will persuade me to get into a canoe with you.

15. Question:
The apprentices elected Wilkins Lord of Misrule.

16. Question:
When she was a young woman, she earned her meagre living as a coal miner.

17. Question:
According to the chart, making supper is Richard's duty tonight and washing the dishes is Dorothy's.

18. Question:
The guard woken from his sleep by the burglar alarm knocked a bowl of potato chips off the desk.

19. Question:
Thomson was a landscape painter.

20. Question:
During the winter
the smell of woodsmoke drifts through the neighbourhood.

Answers to Review questions

01. Question:
      The projectionist dreamt that he chased an enormous gorilla around the theatre.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adverb is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "around the theatre" functions as an adverb because it modifies the verb "chased".

02. Question:
      Justine hoped to attend the masquerade even though her guardian had forbidden such adventures.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as a Predicate is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the verb phrase ``had forbidden such adventures'' acts as the predicate of the sentence.

03. Question:
      The child dancing about the stage hopes to become a movie star.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adjective is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the participle phrase "dancing about the stage" acts as an adjective because it modifies the noun phrase "the child".

04. Question:
      The reporter consulted a number of published accounts before interviewing the senator.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adjective is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "of published accounts" acts as an adjective because it modifies noun "number".

05. Question:
      The party was a dreadful failure because the caterers forgot to bring the tableware.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Object is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the infinitive phrase "to bring the tableware" acts as the direct object of the verb "forgot".

06. Question:
      The guild is meeting to discuss the latest misdemeanours of the apprentices.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as a Predicate is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the verb phrase ``is meeting to discuss...'' acts as the predicate of the sentence

07. Question:
      They heard high pitched cries in the middle of the night.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adverb is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "in the middle of the night" acts as an adverb because it modifies the verb "heard".

08. Question:
      Megan believed that dreaming about grapes meant that she should skip Latin class.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as a Subject is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the gerund phrase "dreaming about grapes" acts as the subject of the verb "meant".

09. Question:
      The guard woken from his sleep by the burglar alarm knocked a bowl of potato chips off the desk.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adjective is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the past participle phrase "woken from his sleep by the burglar alarm" acts as an adjective because it modifies the noun phrase "the guard".

10. Question:
      The reporter consulted a number of published accounts before interviewing the senator.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adverb is correct.
Explanation: The prepositional phrase "before interviewing the reporter" acts as an adverb because it modifies the verb "consulted".

11. Question:
      The bar was full of patiently waiting customers.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Object is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the present participle phrase acts as an adjective because it modifies the noun "customers".

12. Question:
      I was driven mad by the sound of my neighbour's constant piano practising.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adverb is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "by the sound of my neighbour's constant piano practising" functions as an adverb because it modifies the compound verb "was driven".

13. Question:
      The committee gave our neighbourhood association an award for innovative tree planting.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Object is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the noun phrase "our neighbourhood association" acts as the indirect object of the verb "gave".

14. Question:
      I hate camping and nothing you tell me will persuade me to get into a canoe with you.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as a Predicate is correct.
Explanation: The verb phrase ``will persuade me to get into a canoe with you'' functions as the predicate of the sentence.

15. Question:
      The apprentices elected Wilkins Lord of Misrule.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as a Complement is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the noun phrase "Lord Of Misrule" is the object complement of the direct object "Wilkins".

16. Question:
      When she was a young woman, she earned her meagre living as a coal miner.
Answer:
The answer This phrase functions as an Adverb is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "as a coal miner" acts as an adverb describing how the subject earned her living.

17. Question:
      According to the chart, making supper is Richard's duty tonight and washing the dishes is Dorothy's.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as a Subject is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the gerund phrase "making supper" is the subject of the linking verb "is".

18. Question:
      The guard woken from his sleep by the burglar alarm knocked a bowl of potato chips off the desk.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adverb is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the prepositional phrase "off the desk" functions as an adverb modifying the verb "knocked".

19. Question:
      Thomson was a landscape painter.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as a Complement is correct.
Explanation: In this sentence, the noun phrase "landscape painter" acts as a subject complement

20. Question:
      During the winter
the smell of woodsmoke drifts through the neighbourhood.
Answer: The answer This phrase functions as an Adverb is correct.
Explanation: The prepositional phrase "during the winter" acts as an adverb modifying the verb "drifts".

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