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  1. #1
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Reed-Kellogg "really"

    "Up until that time, I was an indifferent writer (a dabbler really) at the best of times."

    Would you advise me on how to diagram that "really"?

    (a) One expert told me it modifies an understood "was."

    (b) Another expert told me it modifies "dabbler" or "a."

    (c) I should like to know your expert opinion.

    A million thanks. Really!

  2. #2
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Reed-Kellogg "really"

    To me, it is clearly an intejection. Consider how it can be moved around without really altering the syntax.

    "by Jove" would work similarly.

    So, of course, to R-K it, I would simply put it on a line unconnected to the "plus sign" of a subject-predicate pair.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Reed-Kellogg "really"

    I know nothing abour R-K, so my opinions can be safely iignored, but it seems to me that 'really' is inherently different from 'by Jove'. Even if 'really' appears to be used interjectionally, it still has an adverbial force, reinforcing or questioning the truth of the whole statement. It is similar to such adverbs as 'surprisingly'. 'arguably', ' hopefully' or 'actually', which I would not call 'interjections'.

  4. #4
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reed-Kellogg "really"

    Well, regardless of how you might diagram it, I hope that we can agree that "dabbler" is an appositive.

    I don't know. You tell me. "Really" seems quite independent to me. I think that sometimes such expressions are called "absolute".

    Otherwise, with the addition of enough words that may be considered understood, i.e. elliptical, "really" could be said to be modifying something that is supplied.

    I didn't mean that "really" here meant, "by Jove", but rather that it acted like it.

    How about "to be sure"?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Reed-Kellogg "really"

    1. I was a dabbler X by Jove.
    2. I was a dabbler X really.

    (X stands for a punctuation mark [or none], whichever you choose).

    It seems to me that we have two distinct ideas in #1. The 'by Jove' gives an impression of the speaker's feeling about the stated fact that s/he was a dabbler, but is not part of that stated fact.

    In #2, however, the 'really' is an integral part of the stated fact, as integral as 'possibly, probably', etc would be. I think that what it modifies depends on how one interprets the statement, and on how one has learnt to analyse sentences.

  6. #6
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Reed-Kellogg "really"

    I don't really disagree with you here.

    But the Parser's original question dealt with how one would diagram the sentence -- specifically using the Reed-Kellogg system.

    To show it as something other than an interjection is going to require the supplying of some understood words. Once those words are supplied, I am sure that it would be easy to diagram.

    Frank

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