Prepositional phrase help

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Cooklava

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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?
 

svartnik

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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. :up:
 

velimir

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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
 

Cooklava

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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"?
 
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susiedqq

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Wonderful job of explaining!, Velimer

"of girls" modifies "subject"
 

velimir

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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
 

velimir

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Hello Cooklava,

My apologies for missing to see your second post,I don't know how that happened :roll: 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 :)
 
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Cooklava

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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.
 

susiedqq

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She offered him advice on the subject of girls.

She / offered / advice

(to) / him

______________________

advice
on --subject
the
of --girls
 

Cooklava

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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.
 

susiedqq

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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"? yes

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

Once again, I apologize for not understanding sooner. That's OK. It's why we are here! :lol:
 

velimir

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Hello Cooklava,
First things first ( that is what one english native would say , I’ve made a mistake in the earlier post ). But this time I think that I will start from the second part first in spite of this saying.
"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? "
I’ve painted red what I think is incorrect in your conclusions and below I will analysed it orderly:
1. “Girls’” is not an adjective but genitive case of the noun “girls”,so you can label it simply as a pre-modifier of the noun not an adjective modifier(but nevermind this,it is not so important)
2. Direct object is not “advice” but “advice on the subject of girls” . This is important to know because it makes confusion . When you want to identify the direct object as a sentence element you are simply trying to find what is a logical complement of the verb and you are not interested in any further examination or analysis. So, if I am asking : What did she offer? , I expect you not to hold back anything and tell me what exactly she offered. If we change the object the same will hold true:
- She offered him a plum. (here,we’ve chosen a bare noun as a form of direct object )
- She offered him a price which he couldn't refuse.(here, direct object is a noun postmodified by a relative clause)
3. "on the subject"( although it is a prepositional phrase in its form), has no function as some functional part in this sentence.It is only a part of the prepositional phrase "on the subject of girls" which is a postmodifier of the noun “advice” in the noun phrase ” advice on the subject of girls” which functions as a direct object. The prepositional phrase “of girls” is a postmodifier in the functional structure of a postmodifer of the higher level. Again, what really matters is to make distinction between the levels of analysis and to avoid mixing up form and function.
4. “..function as adjectives “ - Your logic about this is quite all right,but it is correct to say as you’ve written a little above it “..therefore, "of girls" functions as an adjective would”. Exactly like that. No more and no less. Let me give you one example I’ve thought out:
If my wife regularly wash the dishes but sometimes I do that instead of her ,what function I do when I wash the dishes? Of my wife or a dish-washer ? My opinion(maybe subjective) is that I don’t have required attributes to take the place of a woman but that I can do the dish-washing quite well. Using this analogy , my wife would be an adjective and I would be a noun, and the dish-washing would be classifying nouns. Which means that the role of a classifier predominantly serves adjective (and it being its main function along with the role of describing and evaluating nouns),but nouns and other forms do the classifying as well. Except for the labeling all that you’ve asked is therefore absolutely correct i.e all those elements do the same thing : modify – classifying noun

-"of girls" – prepositional phrase by form, function = postmodifying-classifying the noun
“ subject”
-“on the girls' subject” - prepositional phrase,postmodifying-classifying the noun “ advice” ( “girls’” is the element inside the structure of this postmodifier which is by form noun in a genitive case and functions as a pre-modifier -classifier)
- “on the subject of girls'” – prepositional phrase ,pre-modifying- classifying the noun advice (although this construction sounds a bit strange to me in this place,but you know better of course)
-from my example you can see that a postmodifier of the noun which classify it may be a clause :
“which he couldn't refuse” – clause by form, classifying the noun “price”
Let’s put some adjective classifier for the noun “ advice” ,there is a large selection of these:
professional advice , legal advice, financial advice…
Let’s put some noun which classify “advice” :
Business advice, specialist advice…
Of course adjectives have also a descriptive and evaluative function with still more possible variations for modifying nouns:
good advice, bad advice, excellent advice, helpful, practical….
As you can see many different forms can serve the same function . I hope this will help Cooklava. Hope I didn’t make too many mistakes , I’m sleepy.. . it is 2:24 AM ..Thursday..going to bed..and I see now that Susiedqq has already done the job. Anyway , you can read this also.
Best regards
Velimir
 
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Cooklava

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Thanks to both of you again.

And, you are correct in suggesting that the construction (on the subject of girls) sounds strange. Just saying "advice about girls" would save words and be more than sufficient in getting the point across. But, as you know, this is grammar, and the best way to learn it is by turning over each rock.

Best wishes and thanks again for all the valuable information.:)
 

velimir

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You're welcome Cooklava :) . Again,I'm glad you've found it helpful.

Best regards

Velimir
 
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