Students understanding the complexity of language
 

Chapter 05-09: Clauses I – Analyzing Examples

image_pdfimage_print

chapter 5: 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 3. 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 Clause Types – Example #1
Adapted from Call of the Wild by Jack London:
 
At the Pelly one morning, as they were harnessing up, Dolly, who had never been conspicuous for anything, went suddenly mad. She announced her condition by a long, heartbreaking wolf howl that sent every dog bristling with fear, then sprang straight for Buck. He had never seen a dog go mad; yet he knew that here was horror.
 
For this example, we’ll analyze all of the clause types in the passage. Remember to identify the main verb phrases first by looking for tense:
 
At the Pelly one morning, as they were harnessing up, Dolly, who had never been conspicuous for anything, went suddenly mad. She announced her condition by a long, heartbreaking wolf howl that sent every dog bristling with fear, then sprang straight for Buck. He had never seen a dog go mad; yet he knew that here was horror.
 
Clauses
  1. they were harnessing up – Type I
  2. who had never been conspicuous – Type III
  3. Dolly . . . went suddenly mad – Type V
    WENT is a transitive verb, which means that MAD is a thing, a state of being, and thereby the direct object of WENT
  4. She announced her condition by a long, heartbreaking wolf howl – Type V
  5. that sent every dog bristling with fear – Type V
  6. then sprang straight for Buck – Type I
    THEN actually coordinates the compound main verbs (ANNOUNCED and SPRANG) with the common subject SHE – Also, STRAIGHT FOR BUCK is adverbial – it can be moved, so this is a Type I clause
  7. He had never seen a dog go mad – Type V
  8. he knew that here was horror – Type V
    THAT HERE WAS HORROR is a nominal clause serving as the direct object of KNEW
  9. that here was horror – Type IV
    Even though this clause is part of the previous clause, it needs to be analyzed separately.
Note on Other Elements
  1. bristling – no BE auxiliary, so this is NOT part of a main verb phrase
  2. GO MAD is actually an adjectival infinitive (with the TO deleted), modifying DOG
Analyzing for Clause Types – Example #2
Adapted from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens:
 
I had led this life about a month, when the man with the wooden leg began to stump about with a mop and a bucket of water, from which I inferred that preparations were making to receive Mr. Creakle and the boys. I was not mistaken; Mr. Mell and me were so continually in the midst of dust that I sneezed almost as much as if Salem House had been a great snuff-box.
 
For this example, we’ll analyze all of the clause types in the passage. Remember to identify the main verb phrases first by looking for tense:
 
I had led this life about a month, when the man with the wooden leg began to stump about with a mop and a bucket of water, from which I inferred that preparations were making to receive Mr. Creakle and the boys. I was not mistaken; Mr. Mell and me were so continually in the midst of dust that I sneezed almost as much as if Salem House had been a great snuff-box.
 
Clauses
  1. I had led this life about a month – Type V
  2. when the man with the wooden leg began to stump about – Type V
    TO STUMP ABOUT is a nominal infinitive phrase serving as the direct object of BEGAN – remember that when an infinitive phrase follows directly after a main (transitive) verb, it is most often a nominal
  3. which I inferred that preparations were making to receive Mr. Creakle and the boys – Type V
    nominal that-clause serving as the direct object of INFERRED
  4. that preparations were making to receive Mr. Creakle and the boys – Type V
    TO RECEIVE is a nominal infinitive  phrase serving as the direct object of WERE MAKING
  5. I was not mistaken – Type III
    MISTAKEN is an adjective, even though this looks like it could be a passive construction
  6. Mr. Mell and me were so continually in the midst of dust – Type II
    BE main verb with an adverbial prepositional phrase of place (IN THE MIDST OF DUST)
  7. that I sneezed almost as much as if Salem House had been a great snuff-box – Type I
    ALMOST AS MUCH is adverbial, so this clause is Type I
  8. as if Salem House had been a great snuff-box – Type IV
    BE main verb with a nominal subject complement renaming the subject.