Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sentence Diagramming Challenge ~ Take Two, The Results Show

Did any of you give the sentence diagramming challenge a try? I tried to make them easier, but I had a tough time with ‘came thundering’ on sentence #2. Is that a verb phrase? Is ‘thundering’ a modifier? I bet I diagrammed it incorrectly. And I found mistakes on sentence #3 after I diagrammed it, so this is my second try.

Sentence #1: “The view from that point was a magnificent one.”

Sentence #2: “St. George lowered his spear, bent his head, dug his heels into his horse’s sides, and came thundering over the turf.”

Sentence #3: I’m going into Society, I am, through the kindly aid of our friend here, who’s taking such a lot of trouble on my account; and you’ll find I’ve got all the qualities to endear me to people who entertain!”

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ETA: I’ve tried to get an expert opinion on sentence #2, but the jury is still out. I don’t think ‘thundering over the turf’ can be an adverbial participial phrase, so the other two options are ‘came thundering’ as a verb phrase (can ‘came’ be a helping verb?) or ‘thundering over the turf’ as an adjectival participial phrase modifying ‘St. George,’ but that just seems wrong with the compound predicate. Care to vote one way or another?

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Here is Hannah’s diagram for #3. I think we were in agreement:

Hannah's diagram

Are there any expert diagrammers out there who would like to shed some light on the subject? Did we do something incorrectly?

10 comments:

Ian said...

Heidi, Ian and I had the same dilemma today when we were discussing his diagram of #2 (which I assigned as his daily sentence; thanks for the idea! :-)). He originally had it with "came" as a helping verb for "thundering," but I wondered whether "came" should be the verb on its own, with "thundering" as a verbal. Eventually he won me over to his way of thinking by reminding me of the CC sentence "A present participle is a verb plus 'ing' used as an adjective or a verb." He pointed out that that definition does not include it being used as an adverb; therefore we can't make thundering a verbal modifying "came." I agreed with him, although I'm not still not a hundred percent sure on that one. :-)

Hannah said...

As you probably know by now, that was me, not Ian. :-)

Heidi said...

I said that definition to myself today, too. :) Which is why I think I'm wrong making it an adverb. BUT, I don't think it is part of the verb phrase, either. Came isn't a helping verb, though. If the sentence read 'Thundering over the turf, St. George came.' then 'thundering over the turf' would modify 'St. George.' And now my head is spinning. :) Maybe I'll ask the experts on the WTM boards. :)

Heidi said...

Hmm. The only feedback I've gotten so far is that 'thundering over the turf' would indeed be a participial phrase modifying the subject 'St. George.' We'll see if anyone contradicts that.

Hannah said...

Huh. See, I would think that "thundering over the turf" would answer the question "How?" as in "HOW did St. George come?" And "how?" is an adverb question (this is my Essentials training coming into play here). It's one of the ways our tutor taught us to tell the difference between an adverb and an adjective -- what does it answer? "Adverbs tell how, when, where, why, to what extent, how often, how much, and under what condition?" Whereas, "Adjectives tell what kind, how many, which, which one, or whose?"

I'm no help at all!

Heidi said...

Well, from my research a participial phrase *cannot* serve as an adverb. It has to be either a gerund or an adjective. BUT adjectival participial phrases must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma. Such as, 'Thundering over the turf, St. George came.' In which case it would modify the subject, strange as it may seem. 'Came thundering' really seems to be acting as a verb clause in this sentence. Someone suggested it is similar to using 'to go' as a helping verb. So these sentences would all have verb phrases:
St. George was thundering.
St. George came thundering.
St. George went thundering.

The Hayes Zoo said...

Holy buckets....you may as well be speaking Greek to me. I think I need to go back to school.

:passing out smilie:

Hannah said...

So we can let Ian's "came thundering" stand as our verb after all?

Heidi said...

Hannah, tell Ian that he's the grammar king on this one. :)

Hannah said...

I think I will.

What a delightful discussion here in your cozy comment box! ;-)