I did the example practice sentences in curi’s the Conclusion of Part 1 to curi’s English Language, Analysis & Grammar article.
- John is wise.
Linking Verb: is.
- John quickly drank milk.
Action Verb: drank.
“Quickly” modifies “drank.”
Conclusions: The sentence is about John drinking milk. He drank it quickly.
- John likes big, fast cars.
Action Verb: likes.
“Big” and “fast” both modify “cars.”
Conclusions: John likes a particular type of car: those that are big and fast.
- John went to the new store.
Action Verb: went.
Prepositional phrase: “to the new store”; this phrase is an adverb modifying “went.” It describes where John “went.”
“To” is the preposition, “store” is the object of the preposition.
“The” is a determiner/adjective modifying “store.”
“New” is an adjective modifying “store.”
Conclusions: John went to the store. It is a new store.
- The ferocious dog chased three cats over the chair.
Action Verb: chased.
“The” is a determiner/adjective modifying “dog.”
“ferocious” modifies “dog.”
“three” modifies “cats.”
Prepositional phrase: “over the chair” is an adverb modifying “chased.”
“Over” is a preposition. It tells us the chasing was over the chair (not through or under).
“The” is a determiner/adjective modifying “chair.”
“Chair” is the object of the preposition.
Conclusions: A dog chased three cats. The dog was ferocious. The chase went over a chair.
- Clever John carefully ate the very juicy steak.
Action Verb: ate.
“Clever” modifies “John.”
“Carefully” modifies “ate.”
“Juicy” modifies “steak.”
“Very” modifies “juicy.”
“The” modifies “steak.”’
Conclusions: John ate the steak. He did so carefully. The steak was very juicy. John was clever.
- John thought hard about chemistry.
Action Verb: thought.
“hard” modifies “thought.”
Prepositional phrase: “about chemistry” is an adverb modifying “thought”; it is telling us what the topic of his thinking was.
“About” is a preposition.
“Chemistry” is the object of the preposition.
Conclusions: John thought hard. The topic of his thinking was chemistry.
- John put the toy soldier in the compartment in the box on the shelf in his room.
Action verb: put.
“the” and “toy” modify “soldier.”
Prepositional phrase: “in the compartment in the box on the shelf in his room.” is a big prepositional phrase telling us where John “put” the toy soldier.
“in” is the first preposition.
So the whole phrase modifies “put” and is an adverb.
It is all one big phrase cuz all of the prepositions nested inside modify the object of the previous part of the preposition. So it is a big chain of prepositional phrases. I will explain below. I won’t go through each word for these — I will just discuss at phrase level cuz I think that’s sufficient.
“in the compartment” tells us where John put the toy soldier. So this prepositional phrase by itself is an adjective.
“in the box” tells us the location of this compartment that John put the toy soldier in. There is a box, and it has a compartment that John put the toy soldier in. So “in the box” modifies “compartment” and is an adjective.
“on the shelf” modifies “box.” It’s telling us that the box is located on a shelf. So it’s giving us information about the box. So it’s an adjective.
“in his room” modifies “box.” it’s telling us where the box is. so it’s an adjective.
EDIT: “in his room” actually modifies “shelf.” See comments on this blog post for discussion.
the whole phrase “in the compartment in the box on the shelf in his room” is an adverb cuz the part that connects to the rest of the sentence, “in the compartment”, is an adverb. So that defines the entire prepositional phrase, regardless of how many adjective prepositional phrases are piled on. It’s kinda like how a noun phrase is a noun phrase even if there’s 20 adjectives modifying the noun. The noun is the defining thing of the noun phrase and any modifies to the noun inherit the status of being part of the noun phrase.
Conclusions: John put a toy soldier in a compartment. The compartment was inside a box. The box was on a shelf. The shelf was in his room.
I made a grammar tree to try to show how I was thinking of this sentence https://i.imgur.com/afNmkVg.png
- The delicious cake with berries unfortunately fell onto the dirty floor from the table.
Sad story 🙁
Action Verb: fell.
“the” and “delicious” modify “cake.”
“Unfortunately” modifies “fell.”
Comment: “unfortunately” seems in a bit of a weird place in the sentence. I would expect it at the beginning, like “Unfortunately, the delicious cake…”.
“with berries” is an adjective prepositional phrase modifying “cake” and telling us what kind of cake. “With” is the preposition and “berries” is the object of the preposition.
“onto the dirty floor” is an adverb prepositional phrase modifying “fell” and telling us where the cake fell. “onto” is the preposition, “floor” is the object of the preposition, and “the” and “dirty” modify “floor.”
“from the table” is an adverb prepositional phrase modifying “fell” and telling us from where the cake fell. “from” is the preposition, “table” is the object of the preposition, and “the” modifies “table.”
Conclusions: A cake fell. The cake was delicious. The cake had berries. The cake fell onto a floor. The floor was dirty. The cake fell from a table. The cake’s fall was unfortunate.