He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

IsaacZ

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He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

I’m a teacher of English from China and I am teaching my students how to diagram a sentence using certain lines and marks. There are two sentences in our textbook I am not sure how to diagram:

"Look, there's a shark out there," I screamed.
He's telling us there's a whale out there for us.


My question focuses on the phrase "out there". What are their parts of sentences?

I think it is used as an adverbial in the first sentence and in the second, together with "for us", it is used as a postpositive attributive (post modifier). But other teachers here gave a different opinion, saying "out there" in the second sentence is also an adverbial but put before the post modifier "for us". According to them, this sentence can be rewritten as: He's telling us there's a whale for us out there.

I don't agree with them because I did find some examples where "out there" is used as a post modifier:

This seems to be one of the oldest cliches out there, but in my experience it works.
So much writing out there in the world and who wants to read
it?
Like any other person out there, I fall into habits, good and bad.

Just about every database out there has tools for doing this
.
Nobody out there can get more from that group of players.

If the above sentences can prove that "out there" can be used as a post modifier, then why can't it be used this way in a "THERE BE" structure?
 

jutfrank

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

But other teachers here gave a different opinion, saying "out there" in the second sentence is also an adverbial but put before the post modifier "for us". According to them, this sentence can be rewritten as: He's telling us there's a whale for us out there.

Yes, this is right.

If the above sentences can prove that "out there" can be used as a post modifier, then why can't it be used this way in a "THERE BE" structure?

I'm not an expert on this, and I don't want to give you an inaccurate answer, but I'll tell you how I analyse this personally.

I don't see that out there attributively modifies a whale in any way. The phrase tells us something about the location of the whale's existence. That is, out there goes with there is, and not with a shark. If you reformulate the sentence as follows, it's easier to see:

Out there is a whale for us.

I don't know if that helps. I suggest you wait for PaulMatthews to respond more fully/accurately to this question.
 

IsaacZ

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

Thanks for answering, but I am still confused why "out there" with THERE BE structure must be understood as an adverbial of place but not a post modifier.
 

jutfrank

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

I am still confused why "out there" with THERE BE structure must be understood as an adverbial of place but not a post modifier.

Because that's what it invariably means. Existential 'there be' utterances have a sense of existence. The adverbial gives locative information about that existence. Where is the whale? It's somewhere out there.
 

IsaacZ

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

Because that's what it invariably means. Existential 'there be' utterances have a sense of existence. The adverbial gives locative information about that existence. Where is the whale? It's somewhere out there.

Thanks for your explanation. So can I understand it this way? -

"out there" CAN be used as a post modifier sometimes, but when it comes to a "there be" sentence, it must be seen as an adverbial of place. It is the "there be" structure that determines the function of this phrase.

I am open to opinions from other native speakers of English.
 
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jutfrank

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

So can I understand it this way? -

"out there" CAN be used as a post modifier sometimes, but when it comes to a "there be" sentence, it must be seen as an adverbial of place. It is the "there be" structure that determines the function of this phrase.
I think so, but I'm reluctant to say that that's always the case.

I am open to opinions from other native speakers of English.

Me too.
 

TheParser

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

I’m a teacher of English from China and I am teaching my students how to diagram a sentence using certain lines and marks.


NOT A TEACHER



1. Are you by chance using the Reed and Kellogg diagramming system? Before World War II, American high school students were often taught this method of parsing a sentence. Today, however, it is almost unknown to American teachers. If they use diagramming at all, they prefer the tree diagrams that are taught in university linguistics classes.

a. I am so glad to hear that you are having your students diagram sentences. I think that it's an excellent way to improve one's understanding of English grammar. Most teachers here in the United States, however, disagree.

2. I found a sentence in one of my favorite books that may interest you: "There were twenty persons there (in the room)."

a. The first "there," according to the book, is an expletive. That is, it is an adverb that serves as "a warning that the normal order of the subject and predicate is to be reversed."

i. Thus, in a Reed and Kellogg diagram, the sentence would be analyzed as "Twenty persons were [existed] there (in the room)." "There" is "a pure adverb denoting place."

ii. The expletive "there" would be placed on its own separate line.


Source: Homer C. House and Susan Emolyn Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950), page 169.
 
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probus

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

In current colloquial parlance

"There is an idea out there that ..." is commonly used to say that a certain idea (or feeling) exists in people's minds.
 

IsaacZ

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

NOT A TEACHER

Are you by chance using the Reed and Kellogg diagramming system? Before World War II, American high school students were often taught this method of parsing a sentence. Today, however, it is almost unknown to American teachers. If they use diagramming at all, they prefer the tree diagrams that are taught in university linguistics classes.

Actually, I haven't heard of the Reed and Kellogg diagramming system before, and I don't think I will bother to tree diagram it either, with so many symbols to write.

I am using a very simple marking system mostly borrowed from Chinese sentence analysis. We used to use it a lot to understand Chinese sentences, but Recently I haven't seen other people applying the same way to sentence analysis. Below is an example sentence showing how it works.
1993da7743f926be.jpg


I don't know whether it can be called some kind of diagramming, with only such simple lines under and marks inserted instead of a tree growing from it, but it helps me to quickly divide a sentence into parts to better understand it.

I'm sorry to say that your answer focused on the first 'there' at the beginning of the sentence, but my question goes with the 'out there' in the middle, so I'm still waiting for a thorough explanation about why 'out there' can't be seen as a post modifier in a 'there be' structure, especially closely followed by the post modifier 'for you'.
 
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IsaacZ

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

In current colloquial parlance

"There is an idea out there that ..." is commonly used to say that a certain idea (or feeling) exists in people's minds.

Thanks. I am totally OK with 'out there' being an adverbial when it is followed by nothing, but when the phrase is followed by the post modifier 'for you', I have a feeling that they are together as a whole, making me prefer to see it as part of the post modifier. I just need a clear judgement of its usage from an expert. At the same time, I am glad to hear any opinions from other native speakers.
 

Phaedrus

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

i. Thus, in a Reed and Kellogg diagram, the sentence would be analyzed as "Twenty persons were [existed] there (in the room)." "There" is "a pure adverb denoting place."

ii. The expletive "there" would be placed on its own separate line.


Source: Homer C. House and Susan Emolyn Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950), page 169.

I have finally started to explore the Reed–Kellogg sentence-diagramming system in earnest, having been mildly inclined to do so for years, while being steeped in Chomskyan tree-diagramming. Unfortunately, both types of diagramming can present challenges for elegant online display, since, unless one has an easy-to-use diagramming software program, one must have fairly specialized computer knowledge to produce typed diagrams.

That's why I was delighted yesterday to come upon LetsDiagram.com, which allows one to drag and manipulate Reed–Kellogg diagram elements, and then save and download what one has produced. I should be grateful if TheParser could inspect my diagram below for "There were twenty persons there" and see if this is what he was visualizing when describing House and Harman's parsing. This is my second attempt at a Reed–Kellogg diagram. :)

There were twenty persons there..jpg
 
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TheParser

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?



NOT A TEACHER

Hi,

1. To the best of my knowledge, that is exactly correct. What a beautiful diagram! Thanks!

a. It shows the student where every word belongs.

2. When I first became a member, there was a teacher who used to regularly post Reed and Kellogg diagrams in the diagramming forum. I was among the members (and presumably guests) who found his analyses fascinating. I am so delighted that you are now considering its merits, for it forces one to parse each word.

a. In all fairness, however, many (most?) teachers feel that it is a waste of time and effort and that it does little to improve the English of learners. A few of us respectfully disagree.
 

PaulMatthews

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

The problem with so many diagrams is that they don't help learners to understand the structure of clauses. The Reed-Kellogg is probably the worst of all systems, which explains why it never caught on. The system it advocates is odd to say the least, particularly as it fails to give the constituent structure and makes no mention of categories (parts of speech), and functions (subj, obj, comp. etc.)

I've attached a 'conventional' tree for the example "There were twenty persons there", which expresses in graphic form information about the function and category of the various units or constituents (i.e. words, phrases, clauses, etc.). The constituents are given two labels: the first indicates their function, the second gives their category.

Compare this tree to the Reed-Kellogg diagram and see which is the more meaningful. I'd be very surprised if anyone prefers the latter.

Note that I have simplified the tree somewhat, without affecting its usefulness.



There were rwenty people there.jpg
 

Phaedrus

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

The problem with so many diagrams is that they don't help learners to understand the structure of clauses. The Reed-Kellogg is probably the worst of all systems, which explains why it never caught on.

I'd say that Reed–Kellogg diagramming system forces learners to find the subject and the predicate of finite clauses, along with their respective heads and modifiers. Why do you say that it never caught on? It has been around for over 150 years. Though no longer used in mainstream pedagogy, the system still has its adherents. I believe the most recent textbook using the Reed–Kellogg diagramming system is the ninth edition of Kolln and Funk's Understanding English Grammar (2011).

The system it advocates is odd to say the least, particularly as it fails to give the constituent structure and makes no mention of categories (parts of speech), and functions (subj, obj, comp. etc.)

I can't argue with you about its failing to give the constituent structure; however, students who learn the system learn that the noun that is placed on the main line before its divider is the simple subject, and that what comes on the other side is the predicate. The main verb with its auxiliaries (if it has any) are placed to the right of the line dividing the subject from the predicate. Slanted lines coming off the main line denote modifiers. Articles, adjectives, and prepositional phrases are all represented as modifiers. Presumably, the student learns in class that words like "a" and "the" are articles and are distinct in their grammatical category from words like "in" and "on," even though they all appear on slanted lines in the diagram. The system also provides for possessives, expletives, conjunctions.

Compare this tree to the Reed-Kellogg diagram and see which is the more meaningful. I'd be very surprised if anyone prefers the latter.

It is a lovely tree that you have drawn. To give the Reed–Kellogg diagram the benefit of the doubt, however, I believe it does capture one feature that your tree does not. It displays that the underlying subject of the sentence is twenty persons. In your tree, there is nothing which determines subject-verb agreement. Why should there not be followed by was? *[strike]There was twenty persons there[/strike]. The diagram provides no hint. Were I to do a tree analysis of the sentence, it would require more than one tree, or at the very least arrows indicating movement and added material, to show that There were twenty persons there derives from Twenty persons were there.
 

IsaacZ

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

So is it a conclusion that "out there" is an adverbial as long as it is used in a there be structure?
 

Tdol

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

I'd say that Reed–Kellogg diagramming system forces learners to find the subject and the predicate of finite clauses, along with their respective heads and modifiers. Why do you say that it never caught on?

I taught for twenty years before I heard of diagramming. I first heard of it when I was asked to proofread a text about it. It didn't catch on greatly in the UK.
 

PaulMatthews

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

[1] There is a shark out there.
[2] I saw a shark out there.


In both cases "out there" is a locative adjunct.

In neither case is "a shark out there" a noun phrase, a constituent. In [1] for example, the noun phase complement of "be" is "a shark".
 
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IsaacZ

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

[1] There is a shark out there.
[2] I saw a shark out there.


In both cases "out there" is a locative adjunct.

In neither case is "a shark out there" a noun phrase, a constituent. In [1] for example, the noun phase complement of "be" is "a shark".

What about these ones?

So much writing out there in the world and who wants to read it?
Like any other person out there, I fall into habits, good and bad.
Just about every database out there has tools for doing this.
Nobody out there can get more from that group of players.
This seems to be one of the oldest cliches out there, but in my experience it works.

Please help analyse their functions. Thanks.
 

IsaacZ

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

[1] There is a shark out there.
[2] I saw a shark out there.


In both cases "out there" is a locative adjunct.

In neither case is "a shark out there" a noun phrase, a constituent. In [1] for example, the noun phase complement of "be" is "a shark".

We don't use locative adjunct in our teaching.

We use five basic sentence structures (plus There be) to deal with every sentence. They are:

S V P
S V
S V O
S V O O
S V O C

S for Subject
V for Verb
P for Predicative   
O for Object
C for Complement

Three other members can appear in a sentence to make it longer with more details. They are:

attribute  
adverbial
appositive 


If we are limited to the above system, with no mentioning of locative adjunct, do you think it is possible that "out there" can be used as an post-attribute somehow?
 

PaulMatthews

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Re: He's telling us there's a whale out there for us. - Is "out there" an adverbial?

We don't use locative adjunct in our teaching.

Adjunct is another term for adverbial.
 
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