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help me? (syntax and morphology)

asked 2015-07-03 15:36:38 -0400

I need to choose certain aspects of the following extract to answer the following questions. An SP structure (Subject + Predicate) An SPO structure (Subject + Predicate + Object) An SPC Structure (Subject + Predicate + Compliment) A co-ordination at clause Subordinate Clause Relative Clause And here's the extract. Goldilocks was walking in the forest. Eventually, she arrived at a house. She knocked. When no one answered, she opened the door and entered. At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl, which was on the table. "This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed. Goldilocks looked at the next bowl. She thought that it looked tasty.

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answered 2015-07-03 21:59:21 -0400

usagi5886 gravatar image

updated 2015-07-04 23:43:40 -0400

First of all, in the use of the term that I'm used to, predicate would refer to everything after the subject. Thus, an object, complement, or subordinate clause would also be included in the predicate. It seems you are using the term 'predicate' to refer more or less to just a verb.

Now to the question. I'm not sure I understand what this means: "I need to choose certain aspects of the following extract to answer the following questions." Do you perhaps mean to say that you need to classify each sentence as an instance of one of the 'structures' you listed?

Since this sounds like a homework problem, I don't want to give the full answer. Some of these are pretty easy, e.g. sentence 3 belongs to class [A], with a single-verb predicate. Could you be more specific about which sentences are confusing you and why?


All right - that makes sense. I'll go through each of the six categories and show how the text fits into them.

[A] Subject + Simple predicate

  • she knocked.
  • no one answered
  • she arrived {at a house}
  • Goldilocks was walking {in the forest}

None of these have direct objects or complements. (In the last two, the bracketed portions are optional (i.e. can be safely omitted) and therefore could be treated as adjuncts.)

[B] Subject + Predicate with object

The bracketed portions are the direct objects:

  • she opened {the door}
  • she tasted {the porridge from the first bowl}
  • Goldilocks looked at {the next bowl}

The last one here is tricky. I'm analyzing it here as a single phrasal verb, but you should check your class notes for how you're expected to analyze such constructions.

[C] Subject + Predicate with complement

As you can tell from the Wikipedia page, the term complement can be used in multiple different ways.

  • Existence construction (there is/are __)
    • there were three bowls of porridge
  • copula + adjective construction
    • Goldilocks was hungry
    • This porridge is too hot
    • it looked tasty

In the last one, 'looked' is treated as a linking verb in traditional grammar but may be classified as a pseudo-copula in linguistics.

[D] Coordination of clauses

The only canonical instance of coordination in the text is "she opened the door and entered." However, this is at the level of the verb phrase, not the clause: {opened the door} and {entered}.

I suppose "This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed" could be analyzed this way (with, rather than "and"/"or", instead a null/empty coordinator), but the quote is technically the complement of the verb 'exclaimed' (representing what was exclaimed), so I'd classify it as [C]. But there could be multiple possible analyses of this, so double-check your class notes about what class [D] is intended to refer to.

[E] Subordinate clause

Two different kinds:

  • Functioning as an adverbial
    • {When no one answered}, she opened the door and entered.
  • Complement of a verb:
    • She thought {that it looked tasty}.

[F] Relative clause

This one ...

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Basically for each sentence I need to identify which are relative clauses, subordinate clauses etc. and then draw tree diagrams for them. I'm just finding difficulty in identifying which sentences are which clauses so if you could help me identify just them, I should be able to do the rest myself!

Mo12345 gravatar imageMo12345 ( 2015-07-04 16:39:37 -0400 )edit
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Asked: 2015-07-03 15:36:38 -0400

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Last updated: Jul 04 '15