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Indicate the type of sentence illustrated, identify the sentence subject and predicate,...

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saulsarena | Student | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:27 PM via web

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Indicate the type of sentence illustrated, identify the sentence subject and predicate, and identify as many clauses and phrases as you can. 

Example: Students learn syntax by practice.

Clause 1: Students learn syntax by practice (simple sentence)

Phrase 1: Students (noun phrase) (subject)

Phrase 2: learn syntax by practice (verb phrase) (predicate)

Phrase 3: learn (verb phrase)

Phrase 4: syntax (noun phrase)

Phrase 5: by practice (prepositional phrase)

Phrase 6: by practice (adjective phrase)

 Linguistics, a discipline that connects to many other fields of study is valuable to us in many ways.

 Understanding morphemes is an important part of learning to read and write.

 The activity on syntax included questions on grammar and sentence patterns.

 Although it has been time consuming, James has enjoyed studying the components of verb phrases.

 While walking down the street, we read an example of an ambiguous sentence walking down the street.

 Identifying phrases and clauses can be difficult at times, but it is a very useful skill to develop.

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dkaye | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 10, 2012 at 2:03 AM (Answer #1)

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"Students learn syntax by practice" but it looks like you need a little help getting started. Your teacher gave you one good example of how to do these, but the other is a little longer, so iitseems harder.  Fear not!  It's the same basic idea, and I'll walk you through.

Let's try the last one. It's a little trickier than the example, because it includes a gerund and a coordinating conjunction (a gerund is an -ing verb used as a noun, in this case identifying; a coordinating conjunction is a conjunction that links two equal clauses, in this case but). This is a compound sentence.

First, let's break the sentence into clauses. Remember that a clause is a phrase that makes grammatical sense by itself, a phrase with a subject and predicate.  In this sentence, I see two clauses: "Identifying phrases and clauses can be difficult at times" and "it is a very useful skill to develop".

Next, let's find the subject and predicate for each clause (although "predicate" is not part of syntax analysis). Remember that the subject is the thing that's doing something, and the predicate is the thing it's doing.  For a simple example, in the sentence "She ran," "she" is the subject (the thing doing something) and "ran" is the predicate (the thing the subject has done). In the first clause, don't be distracted by that gerund!  The subject is "Identifying phrases and clauses"--that's the part that is doing something. In this case, the thing it's doing, or predicate, is "can be difficult at times". For the second clause, we can use the same strategy: the thing that's doing something is "it" (referring back to "identifying phrases and clauses), and the thing it's doing is "is a very useful skill to develop".  Phew!

Your teacher lists several kinds of phrases in his or her example: noun phrase, verb phrase, prepositional phrase, adjective phrase.  Let's start from the beginning. One trick for finding noun phrases is that you should be able to substitute a pronoun for the whole phrase. For example,  in the sentence "The tallest boy in the class sat", you could also say "He sat". The pronoun "He" can replace "the tallest boy in the class", so that's a noun phrase.

In our sentence, don't be fooled by that gerund!  "Identifying" is a noun here (part of the subject, remember?), and it's part of a noun phrase: "identifying phrases and clauses". It can definitely be substituted for a pronoun, because in the second clause, "it" substitutes for that whole noun phrase. Another noun phrase I spot is "a very useful skill".  

I see some verb phrases, too, which include a main verb along with any auxiliary verbs. I spot "can be", "is" and "to develop".

Prepositional phrases consist of a preposition and its object. I see "at times". Don't be confused by "to develop"--it has the word "to" in it, but it is a complete infinitive verb, not a prepositional phrase.  It's like Hamlet's "To be, or not to be"--"to be" is the infinitive form of the verb, not a prepositional phrase.

An adjectival phrase is a phrase built around an adjective, like "difficult at times".

An adverbial phrase is a phrase that acts all together as an adverb.   "At times" is a great example.

I hope that helped you understand what to do.

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