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  1. #1
    Cooklava is offline Junior Member
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    Default Prepositional phrase help

    She offered him sisterly advice on the subject of girls.

    How does the prepositional phrase on the subject modify the verb offered?

    For instance, in this sentence: "She ran across the field," the phrase tells where (across the field) she ran. What does on the subject tell about offered?

  2. #2
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Quote Originally Posted by Cooklava View Post
    She offered him sisterly advice on the subject of girls.

    How does the prepositional phrase on the subject modify the verb offered?

    For instance, in this sentence: "She ran across the field," the phrase tells where (across the field) she ran. What does on the subject tell about offered?
    The prep. phrase modifies advice and not offered.

  3. #3
    velimir is offline Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Hello Cooklava,

    I'm not a teacher and my english is not quite good (in a broader sense of good ),and I'm not an expert in grammar neither ,but this sentence is pretty simple to analyse .Now let me try and I hope that somebody more qualified will join and give his/her answer on this.In the sentence:

    "She offered him sisterly advice on the subject of girls."

    the part " on the subject of girls" does not modify the verb " offered " in the sentence. In the sentence structure it is only part of the direct object, and the complete direct object being " sisterly advice on the subject of girls". The structure of this sentence follows the pattern :

    S(she) + V(offered)+ IO (him) + DO(sisterly advice on the subject of girls).

    S-subject, V-verb, IO- indirect object , DO- direct object

    Those are elements or functions in the sentence structure and every one of them is realised by some grammatical form.That form may be a single word or a group of words that makes phrase.In this case the subject is realised by a pronoun, predicate(or V element) by V-ed form of the verb, indirect object by pronoun , and direct object by nominal phrase. Now you can analyse the nominal phrase " sisterly advice on the subject of girls" in the same manner as you've analysed the sentence structure:

    pre-modifier (sisterly)+ Nominal head (advice)+ Postmodifier(on the subject of girls)

    So,the element "on the subject of girls" is a postmodifier of the noun in a noun phrase,which narrows and particularise "sisterly advice" in this case to the subject of girls. And that is the function of that element in the nominal phrase and regarding its form it is a prepositional phrase.
    If you need some more explanation on this sentence I'll be glad to help insomuch as I know.

    Best regards

    Velimir

  4. #4
    Cooklava is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Thanks, Velimir. And, by the way, I printed your last reply on my question about prepositions. Very helpful.

    May I just add (out of my seemingly never ending state of confusion about grammar :)), do both prepositional phrases modify "advice"?
    Last edited by Cooklava; 29-Jan-2008 at 23:01.

  5. #5
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Wonderful job of explaining!, Velimer

    "of girls" modifies "subject"

  6. #6
    velimir is offline Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Hello Susiedqq,

    I'm glad you think it is good Susiedqq.It is really encouraging for me,thank you very much.
    Let me be allowed to briefly comment on this ,although maybe not the right place here for that.
    From my experience in learning I've come to a conclusion that it is important to see the whole picture-what is the logic of elements and where they fit in the sentence. It is the instrument and foundation (or,what you call "first comes first")for adopting more vocabulary + better arranged in your speech,writing and reading, what is the ultimate goal in learning.I think it's important to understand that one grammatical form does not necessarily constitute one functional unit in the clause (in everyday talk it is probably more often otherwise) and to differ between the levels of word,phrase,clause and sentence.When a learner grasp the general logic of the sentence analysis (of course,it is not necessary nor possible to understand the structure of every sentence he/she come across) and internalize and adopt that approach,things become easier.Then reading and listening can fully contribute to active knowledge of language.I know from my experience that even using of dictionary is not appropriate without knowing the basic concepts in the language,possible functions and forms of words(it is certainly good to know why is one word like e.g "that" labeled as conj,det,and pron and what that means in following examples).

    Best regards

    Velimir

  7. #7
    velimir is offline Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Hello Cooklava,

    My apologies for missing to see your second post,I don't know how that happened First to tell you that I'm very very glad it's helped you. I believe it is a good direction for learning on the matter. I really refrain from giving explanation here on forum since my english is not that good and it would be wrong to mislead somebody with giving false explanation,so I've tried to be as accurate as possible in explaining,and proofread everything I've written. Of course,you should use some good grammar to expand your knowledge and draw your own conclusion from all that.And really there is no need to be confused with grammar ,specially because its basics is not difficult and you are very close to get a good grasp of it with your present knowledge, I can see it.
    What you do when you analyse the sentence is breaking it into functional chunks. And there is not too many of this chunks,don't be confused with it. This chunks had to be labeled somehow( this labeling often make confusion since it is very often different for essentially the same concepts).
    In the simple sentence like this you've posted,all you need to do is to find what is subject, verb, object(direct,indirect or prepositional),complement(subject or object)and what is adverbial(may be obligatory or non-obligatory).In order to do that you need to : First : To understand the logic of this elements (i.e their semantic)- what every element do in the sentence, what is it,and what their form is. And it is simple as that.You only need to know about this elements individually. Be sure they exist to describe things not to make it complicate. And again,I repeat, you need to know that they may take different forms and form is a shape of some functional part of the sentence or phrase (e.g subject is most often a noun or a noun phrase,but it can be prepositional phrase as well,or a whole clause or adjective..you see the point?). Second (but not less important):
    You always need to make clear difference between the levels of analysis,and to remember that there always exist vertical hierarchy between the parts. When you have broken the sentence into chunks and found that "sisterly advice on the subject of girls" is the direct object, never forget that it is part of the sentence. Now you can analyse the direct object .What is it in this case (you ask yourself what is its form). Answer: It is a nominal phrase. Now you're analysing this nominal phrase as I've shown in my first post. And Susiedqq answered you that "of girls" modifies "subject" which means that you can analyse more:
    i.e the postmodifier (on the subject of girls) in the noun phrase of higher level (sisterly advice on the subject of girls) is not a simple word but a prepositional phrase (preposition + noun complement).Now youre breaking it into chunks since the noun complement is not a simple word but a noun phrase in which the part "of girls" is postmodifier of the noun " subject" . And now you've reached the end of the analysis(if you dont want to dig into morphology and dissect words,which is also possible but seems totally unproductive) i.e you've gotten bare words and now you can do the other way around if you want and climb from the single word to see how they build up higher functional units all the way to the sentence as the highest point which represents the building itself.
    It was in brief about it ,but if it is not clear yet don't let yourself be confused and just find some good source to read about types of phrases (nominal, adjectival,adverbial,prepositional) and their construction and function. Then you can read a bit about clause types as the neighbour of phrases one level above and all will become clear to you I'm sure. You could find some sentence you have some doubts about,analyze it ,and post your findings here. I think it is a good way of learning also .

    P.S If you like this one you can print it freely,and moreover I cede all copyright to you
    Last edited by velimir; 30-Jan-2008 at 12:35.

  8. #8
    Cooklava is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Hi, again. I'm slightly embarrassed to post this because you've done such an excellent job explaining, yet I still don't get it.


    She offered him advice on the subject of girls.

    The second prepositional phrase "of girls" is modifiying the noun "subject" in the first prepositional phrase; therefore, "of girls" functions as an adjective would: on the girls' subject (correct, so far?).

    What about the first prepositional phrase (now including girls as the modifying adjective--on the girls' subject)? Is it modifying the direct object advice as an adjective also? Do both prepositional phrases--"on the subject" and "of girls"--function as adjectives?

    In other words: She offered him on the subject of girls' advice.


    Hope this post isn't too confusing.

    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    She offered him advice on the subject of girls.

    She / offered / advice

    (to) / him

    ______________________

    advice
    on --subject
    the
    of --girls

  10. #10
    Cooklava is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Prepositional phrase help

    Re: Prepositional phrase help
    She offered him advice on the subject of girls.

    She / offered / advice

    (to) / him

    ______________________

    advice
    on --subject
    the
    of --girls


    Suppose I do a rewrite:

    Her advice (1) on the subject (2) of girls was useless.

    Would I be correct stating that the sentence contains two prepositional phrases both functioning as adjectives: the second one "of girls" modifying the noun of the first one "subject" and the first one "on the subject" modifying the noun "advice"?

    "On the subject of girls" is two prepositional phrases, correct?

    Once again, I apologize for not understanding sooner.

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