English Language, Analysis & Grammar, Conclusion of Part 2, Example Practice Sentences

I did most of the example practice sentences in part 2 of curi’s English Language, Analysis & Grammar article

I did not do one but I made some initial remarks on it.

I am trying a new posting method so apologies in advance if anything is wrong, and please let me know if there is something wrong. I did do a test before posting this and everything seemed okay. This new posting method will permit me to simultaneously email the list and post to my blog (hopefully). I am using the Postie WordPress plugin. Btw the [grammar] tag 🏷 works as a blog category tag 😃

Part 2 Exercises

I work hard and I play hard.

Conjunction: Two clauses are joined by the coordinating conjunction “and.”


Main clause: I work hard.
Verb: work.
Subject: I.
Complement: hard.


Main clause: I play hard.
Subject: I.
Verb: play.
Complement: hard.

Conclusions: I work hard. I play hard.

Farting or belching is mildly impolite.

Conjunction: Two nouns (“farting”, “belching”) are joined by the coordinating conjunction “or” into a compound subject. With this conjunction and in this context, the predicate applies to each element of the compound subject separately. It is similar to if you said “A burger or pizza would be good for dinner.” The meaning there would be that a burger would be good for dinner, and pizza would also be good for dinner.

Verb: is.
Subject: Farting or belching.
Complement: impolite.
“mildly” modifies “impolite.”

Conclusions: Farting is mildly impolite. Belching is mildly impolite.

I went to a fancy university, yet I’m still quite ignorant.

Conjunction: Two clauses are joined by the coordinating conjunction “yet.” This conjunction indicates that the clause that follows the conjunction is contrary to the expectation that would follow from the first clause.


Main clause: I went to a fancy university.
Verb: went.
Subject: I.

Prepositional phrase: “to a fancy university” is an adverbial prepositional phrase describing where I “went.”
Preposition: “to.”
Prepositional object: “university”
“a” and “fancy” modify “university.”


Main clause: I’m still quite ignorant.
Verb: am.
Subject: I.
Complement: ignorant.
“quite” modifies “ignorant.”

Conclusions: I went to a university. It was fancy. Contrary to the result one would typically expect from these facts, I am still quite ignorant.

I write because I like good ideas.

Conjunction: The subordinating conjunction “because” joins two clauses, and indicates that the activity in the first clause (“I write”) follows as a result of the state of affairs in the second clause (“I like good ideas.”)


Main clause: I write.
Verb: write.
Subject: I.


Subordinate clause: I like good ideas.
Verb: like.
Subject: I.
Object: ideas.
“Good” modifies “ideas.”

Conclusions: I write. I do this activity for the reason that I like good ideas.

The bully hit my buddy and me pretty hard.

Conjunction: Two nouns (“buddy” and “me”) are joined by the coordinating conjunction “and” into a compound object.

Verb: hit.
Subject: bully.
Objects: buddy, me

“The” modifies “bully.”
“my” modifies “buddy.”
“hard” is an adverb modifying “hit.”
“pretty” modifies “hard.”

Conclusions: The bully hit me. The bully hit my buddy. The hits were pretty hard.

I seriously think that Ayn Rand was wise.

I’m not sure how to analyze this just with the material discussed up to this point in the grammar article, but elsewhere in his grammar educational materials curi says sentences like this mean the following:

Ayn Rand was wise; I seriously think that.

And curi also treats the semicolon as being like an “and.”

So basically, you analyze this as two main clauses.

Main clause: Ayn Rand was wise
Verb: was
Subject: Ayn Rand
Complement: wise

Main clause: I seriously think that
Verb: think
Subject: I
Object: that
“Seriously” modifies “think”

Note: “seriously” is a bit ambiguous. It could mean the person isn’t joking or that the person has thought about the matter carefully.

Don’t chew quickly while your mouth is open.

Conjunction: “While” is a subordinate clause. Here, it indicates that the scope of the advice given in the main clause (“Don’t chew quickly”) is limited to the situations described in the subordinate clause (“your mouth is open.”)


Main clause: [You] don’t chew quickly.
Verb: chew.
Auxiliary verb: do.
Subject: [You]
Complement: Quickly.
The contracted form of “not”, “n’t”, is an adverb modifying the auxiliary verb “do.”
“Quickly” is an adverb modifying “chew.”


Subordinate clause: your mouth is open.
Verb: is.
Subject: mouth.
Complement: open.
“Your” modifies “mouth.”

Conclusions: Don’t chew quickly. This advice is limited to when your mouth is open.

My daughter likes big dogs, but my son likes adorable cats.

Conjunction: “But” is a coordinating conjunction joining two main clauses and indicating a contrast between the two clauses (in this case, the contrast is which animal is favored by the speaker’s children).

Main clause: My daughter likes big dogs
Verb: likes
Subject: Daughter.
object: dogs
“my” modifies daughter.
“big” modifies dogs.


Main clause: my son likes adorable cats.
Verb: likes.
Subject: son.
Object: cats.
“my” modifies son.
“adorable” modifies “cats.”

Conclusions: My daughter likes big dogs. In contrast to that, my son likes adorable cats.

If universities are full of uncurious professors, don’t attend one.

“If” is a subordinating conjunction appearing at the beginning of the sentence. It functions to indicate that if the state of affairs described in the subordinate clause (“universities are full of uncurious professors”) is the case, the advice in the main clause (“don’t attend one.”) should be followed.

Main clause: [You] don’t attend one.
Verb: attend.
Subject: [You]
Object: one.

EDIT: Auxiliary verb: do
EDIT: “not” is an adverb modifying “attend”.


Subordinate clause: universities are full of uncurious professors.
verb: are.
subject: universities
complement: full.

prepositional phrase: of uncurious professors. adverb, modifies “full.”
preposition: of.
object of preposition: professors.
“uncurious” modifies “professors.”

conclusions: There is a condition under which you should not attend a university. That condition is if universities are full of uncurious professors.

After you throw a small, red ball, while you sing, you should stamp your feet loudly, and you should clap your hands energetically, if it’s still daytime.

I find the sentence ambiguous. Are the subordinate clauses supposed to refer only to the nearest main clause or to both main clauses together? And how does that affect how you think of the grammar/make a tree diagram.

I think that a subordinate clause can, in terms of meaning, refer to more than one main clause. For example, in “If you are hungry, you should eat and you should drink,” the meaning is that if the status described in the subordinate clause is the case, you should both eat and drink. But what is the subordinate clause being subordinated to? “You should eat?” Or the combination of the main clauses conjoined by the “and”? And how would we diagram that?

Also, I’m unclear why “if it’s still daytime.” is preceded by a comma. I believe that is irregular and contrary to standard punctuation of subordinate clauses.

I wrote more on this example but I’ll limit my remarks to this for now.

5 thoughts on “English Language, Analysis & Grammar, Conclusion of Part 2, Example Practice Sentences”

  1. Main clause: [You] don’t attend one.

    You didn’t analyze the “don’t”.

    I think the comma before “if it’s still daytime” separates it from the main clause directly before it, which suggests it applies to both main clauses.

    1. You didn’t say what that word means or does (its role in the sentence).

      Hmm. For some auxiliary verbs I could say something meaningful, but I’m not sure what the purpose of “do” is here other than to serve as part of “do not” (or the contracted form “don’t” in the actual example). Unlike, say, Spanish, where you can just throw up a negating word in front of a conjugated verb to negate it†, in English, we require an auxiliary verb in some cases where you want to negate stuff. I’m not sure why.

      Anyways, unlike something like “will”, which modifies a verb to indicate future tense, the “do” here doesn’t seem to modify “attend” in a clear way. A “do” without a not would add emphasis (e.g. “You do look great.”), but I think that’s a different sort of usage. So the “do” in the example I analyzed seems like a sort of support word for the “not”, which is the main event between the two words. That’s a conceptual analysis. But the grammar analysis is that “do” is an auxiliary verb, so it must be technically modifying “attend.”

      †e.g. In Spanish, “Va”, or “you go”, can become “No va”, or “You don’t go”, just by throwing the negating word “No” in front of the conjugated verb.

  2. Yeah I think “do” is an empty word here. I think that’s worth saying (that it’s empty). Lots of auxiliary verbs are not empty, e.g. in “Joe will fart.” the “will” has the purpose of making it future tense.

    I think “do” can add emphasis sometimes, but I don’t know that it does here.

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