Students understanding the complexity of language
 

Chapter 01-16: Analyzing Examples

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chapter 1: analyzing examples

The English language is messy, and many times analyzing for  grammatical elements is not always as obvious as the simple examples that we use on the content pages. So to assist your ability to analyze  all the different texts you may encounter as you read, we want to offer a  few more sample analyses of more difficult texts.
 
For these more complicated examples, we review some or all  of the key  features discussed in Chapter 1. Please review these  examples closely, trying  to understand the choices made for the analysis. As always, if you have any questions, please ask your instructor  or start a conversation in your work group.
 
Analyzing for Words – Example #1
From The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie:
 
As one looked out over the flat Essex country, lying so green and peaceful under the afternoon sun, it seemed almost impossible to believe that, not so very far away, a great war was running its appointed course.
 
For this example, we’ll analyze each word in the sentence. Remember to pay attention to context, to who the words are “hanging out with”:
 
  1. As – subordinator
    While AS can also be a preposition, in this context, the word precedes a clause (ONE LOOKED), so it is a subordinator.
  2. one – pronoun
  3. looked – verb (main verb)
  4. out – verb particle
    OUT is working with the main verb; more importantly, whenever you see two words that look like prepositions in a row following a verb, you should suspect that the first one after the verb is a verb particle.
  5. over – preposition
  6. the – definite article
  7. flat – adjective
  8. Essex – noun, functioning adjectivally to modify COUNTRY
  9. country – noun
  10. lying – verb, functioning adverbially
  11. so – qualifier, modifying GREEN and PEACEFUL
    While SO is most often a coordinating conjunction, it also works as a qualifier.
  12. green – adjective, modifying COUNTRY
  13. and – coordinating conjunction
    Coordinating Conjunctions always coordinate like items. In this case, it is coordinating two adjectives.
  14. peaceful – adjective, modifying COUNTRY
  15. under – preposition
  16. the – definite article
  17. afternoon – noun, functioning adjectivally to modify SUN
  18. sun – noun
  19. it – pronoun
  20. seemed – verb (main verb)
  21. almost – qualifier
  22. impossible – adjective, subject complement
  23. to – infinitive marker
    TO can also be a preposition, so you need to look closely if it precedes a noun or a verb.
  24. believe – verb
  25. that – nominal clause marker
  26. not – negative (adverb)
  27. so – qualifier
  28. very – qualifier
  29. far – adverb
  30. away – adverb (the whole phrase – NOT SO VERY FAR AWAY – can be deleted)
  31. a – indefinite article
  32. great – adjective, modifying WAR
  33. war – noun
  34. was – auxiliary verb
  35. running – verb (main verb)
  36. its – possessive determiner
  37. appointed – verb, functioning adjectivally to modify COURSE
  38. course – noun
 Analyzing for Words – Example #2
From Walden by Henry David Thoreau
 
With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits, all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike.
 
For this example, we’ll analyze each word in the sentence. Remember to pay attention to context, to who the words are “hanging out with”:
 
  1. With – preposition
  2. a – indefinite article
  3. little – adjective, modifying DELIBERATION
  4. more – indefinite determiner
    If this was on an exam, I would probably accept adjective, as well, although the better answer is indefinite determiner.
  5. deliberation – noun
  6. in – preposition
  7. the – definite article
  8. choice – noun
  9. of – preposition
  10. their – possessive determiner
  11. pursuits – noun
  12. all – indefinite determiner
  13. men – noun
  14. would – modal auxiliary
  15. perhaps – adverb  (can move in the clause or delete it)
  16. become – verb (main verb)
  17. essentially – adverb (can move in the clause or delete it)
  18. students – noun
  19. and – coordinating conjunction
    Coordinating Conjunctions always coordinate like items. In this case, it is coordinating two nouns.
  20. observers – noun
  21. for – preposition
  22. certainly – adverb (can move in the clause or delete it)
  23. their – possessive determiner
  24. nature – noun
  25. and – coordinating conjunction
    Coordinating Conjunctions always coordinate like items. In this case, it is coordinating two nouns.
  26. destiny – noun
  27. are – verb (main verb)
  28. interesting – adjective, subject complement
    The -ing inflection might be confused in this case as part of a main verb phrase, but if INTERESTING was a verb at one time, it has become an adjective.
  29. to – preposition
  30. all – pronoun
  31. alike – adverb, modifying the prepositional phrase TO ALL