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  1. #1
    rtpsj is offline Newbie
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    Thumbs down Diagramming gerunds - a toughie!

    How would you diagram the following sentence:

    Watching the players destroy their opponents was fun.

    What do you do with "destroy their opponents"? How is it functioning within the gerund phrase?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Diagramming gerunds - a toughie!

    It's a complement: [G watching + O the players + C destroy their opponents] (Note, the object is the subject of the bare infinitive destroy.)


    Verb(al)s of perceptionhear, see, watch — and a handful of other verbs — help, let, and make — take a bare infinitive, an infinitive without the particle "to":


    Verb: We watched the players destroy their opponents.
    Gerund: Watching the players destroy their opponents ...

  3. #3
    rtpsj is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Diagramming gerunds - a toughie!

    Wow, Soup, that helps a lot, but I can't find anyone who knows how to diagram something like that. Do you treat "destroy" like a subject complement without a linking verb (i.e.: Watching|players\destroy) , or do you treat it like an adjectival infinitive and diagram it underneath "players"?

    Thanks so much for your time and knowkedge!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Diagramming gerunds - a toughie!

    It branches off the noun it modifies. After all 'the players' functions as the bare infinitive's subject.

  5. #5
    rtpsj is offline Newbie
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    Question Re: Diagramming gerunds - a toughie!

    Using the Reed-Kellogg method, would this be correct then?

    Watch-
    .........|ing | players | was \ fun
    .................\the \(to) destroy| opponents
    ............................................. \their


    (Ignore the dots - it's the only way I could get the diagram to space correctly and the 'the', '(to)', and 'their" would all slant down the slashed line (which I obviously can't do on the computer).

    Thanks so much Soup; this has really been troubling me!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Diagramming gerunds - a toughie!

    Yes, if 'destroy their opponents' branches from 'players'.

    ____________________

    GP watching the players destroy their opponents
    GP branches to G and NP
    G watching
    NP the players destroy their opponents
    NP branches to N and VP
    N the players
    VP destroy their opponents
    VP branches to V and NP
    V destroy
    NP their opponents


    [GP Watching [NP-SUBJ the players [VP destroy their opponents]]]

    Where VP branches to [V destroy [NP-Object their opponents]]

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  8. #8
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Diagramming gerunds - a toughie!

    Just a note: this is an objective complemement, not a subjective complement. It's the direct object being completed, not the subject.

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