About bloggingfrog

Born 1947 in Hamilton. Retired in 2000 after 32 fabulous years with the Hamilton Public School Board. Love retirement as much as teaching and am excited about becoming the Bloggingfrog. I have so much to tell you before I croak. I'm married, have 3 daughters (all spoken for) and a 3 year old Doodle named Abbey. I'm still here (in Hamilton that is)....

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 12: THE ‘GRAND DADDY’ OF SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION…

Forget the simple sentence. Never mind the compound sentence. Move over complex sentence; big daddy is here!

Like we said earlier, when constructing sentences, it’s a bit like working with Lego blocks. You start from the simplest and work towards the ultimate. In this case, we are talking about the creation of a compound-complex sentence. 

Hey! Don’t run away in fear; it can be done and we are about to show you how you can take your writing to a much higher level of sophistication. Beware the ides of March, however, or, for that matter, the shoes of Lady Gaga. Compound-complex sentence constructions are not for the faint-hearted. Building them requires that you have a firm grip of the necessary basics so it might be worthwhile to do a quickie review…

SIMPLE SENTENCE

A complete thought consisting of two elements: a subject (noun or pronoun) and a predicate (verb or verb phrase). A simple sentence also goes by the following aliases: principal clause, independent clause and if that’s not enough to confound you, it can also be called a main clause. Examples are as follows:

We love constructing sentences.

Some people forget the rules.

Practice is important.

COMPOUND SENTENCE

Two simples sentences (a.k.a principal, independent or main clauses) bound or connected by a coordinate conjunction.

We love constructing sentences but we do it carefully.

Some people forget the rules and others ignore them completely.

Practice is important so you should do it often.

COMPLEX SENTENCE

One principal (independent or main clause) + one or more *subordinate (dependent) clauses. *A subordinate clause is a cluster or group of words which contains its own subject and predicate but cannot stand alone as a complete thought…the word that begins this cluster is called a subordinate conjunction. Complex sentences (principal + subordinate clause(s)) resemble the following:

After we study, we usually practise.

Whenever we practise, time seems to fly because we are so focused.

If you require assistance, we are here to help you.

SO WHAT CONSTITUTES A THE SO-CALLED ‘GRAND DADDY’ OF SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION? Well grammar fans, if you know what a compound sentence is and you’re familiar with a complex sentence, then all you have to do is blend them together (observing the correct and accepted rules of punctuation) to create the COMPOUND-COMPLEX SENTENCE.

Two main clauses + one or more dependent clauses = a compound-complex sentence. 

Please note (for the umpteenth time) that certain terms in grammar have interchangeable names by which to identify them. A main clause can also be called a principal, independent or main clause. Wait, we’re not finished! It’s also called a simple sentence.

Dependent clauses, on the other hand, can go by the title subordinate clause.  Whew! That’s a lot to remember, so from this time on, we shall use the names principal and subordinate clause for our purposes. Hopefully, that will simplify matters. Now, let’s bring on a few examples of compound-complex sentences in which our principal clauses shall be in bold and our subordinate clause(s) in italics.

Many of our readers try hard but they often fall short because they lack the necessary focus.

Although we enjoy writing, we lack the time to practice and that is a real problem.

Bloggingfrog and Lily do croak a lot yet they feel it’s important since others might get something from it if they try to comprehend the croakers. (‘since others might get something from it’ and ‘if they try to comprehend the croakers’ are two different subordinate clauses).

And that, fellow grammarians, concludes today’s lesson. We urge you, as always, to review, review and review some more. We’ve come a long way but the journey must and will continue.

Remember what Irish Anglican Archbishop and poet Richard Trench was said: “Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.” On second thought…don’t bother!

Have a lovely day,

Bloggingfrog and Lily

 

Advertisements

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 11: YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SUBORDINATE CLAUSE…

Yesterblog, we introduced you to a new term…actually it was one term with three separate names (all referring to the same thing). A simple sentence (complete thought…make that four names) can also be called a principal or independent clause. 

Today, we’d like you to meet another type of clause (no, it has nothing to do with Santa) called the subordinate or dependent clause. These are incomplete thoughts (but try telling that to a grade 2 student) and, as their name suggests, they cannot stand alone. They are subordinate to or dependent on something else. Any guesses?

Holy grammar, I think you’ve got it! Subordinate clauses must be put in a sentence before or after a principal clause. NEVER ALONE or else you commit another grave grammar no-no called a sentence fragment.

This would be a good time to answer a question we received from an interested party a few days ago. This obviously prudent student wanted to know the difference(s) between a phrase and a clause.

In a nutshell (we prefer pecans), both phrases and clauses are groups of words, however, only clauses contain a subject (noun or pronoun) and predicate (verb). No verb – no clause! It’s as simple as that! Case closed…

So far, in our construction of sentences, we have witnessed the development of simple and compound sentences (see last blog if you forget…silly). Let’s construct something a bit more complex….

Let’s put the spotlight back onto clauses. If we put a principal (independent) clause with a subordinate (dependent) clause in the same sentence, we create a complex sentence. We’re sorry Dr. Freud but the word complex has nothing to do with having feelings of repressed anxiety that might give rise to abnormal or psychological behaviours. Instead, we grammarians like to think of it as interconnectedness or a composition of elements…ooh, that sounds nice! Shall we have a look at a few complex sentences and see for ourselves how uncomplicated they really are?

We reviewed our notes after the lesson ended.

This is an example of a complex sentence. Look for the principal clause…the group of words which have a subject and verb and can stand alone as a complete thought. The remaining cluster or group of words will have its own subject and verb but taken together, CANNOT stand on its own. This will be our subordinate clause. Okay, which is which?

Principal or Independent Clause? ‘We reviewed our notes’ (subject: ‘we’, verb: ‘reviewed’…it stands alone so it is a complete thought)

Subordinate of Dependent Clause? ‘after the lesson ended’ (subject: ‘lesson’, verb: ‘ended’…cannot stand alone so it is not a complete thought)

Holy Santa, we just built ourselves a complex sentence!

If we had to parse the subordinate clause, we’d need a name for the first word ‘after’. We can’t call it a preposition because prepositions start phrases and phrases do not contain a verb.

‘after’ and all words like it that start a subordinate clause shall be called a subordinate conjunction. Great word don’t you think? It does link or join the two clauses together and that’s what conjunctions are supposed to do, so subordinate conjunction it is.

Hey, why don’t we parse the entire complex sentence together!

We reviewed our notes after the lesson ended.

‘We’: subject/bare subject of principal clause (pronoun)

‘reviewed’: bare predicate (action verb)

‘our’: modifies notes (adjective…well, actually it’s real title is pronominal adjective because ‘our’ is from the possessive pronoun family but is being used as an adjective…duplicity in action!)

‘notes’: direct object of verb (tells us what ‘we reviewed’)(noun)

‘after’: introduces the subordinate clause (subordinate conjunction)

‘the’: describes ‘lesson’ (adjective…it’s also called a definite article)

‘lesson’: bare subject of sub. clause (noun)

‘ended’: bare predicate of sub. clause (verb)

Before we give you more examples of complex sentences, here is a list of common subordinate conjunctions that will help you to readily identify subordinate or dependent clauses:

although, as, as if, as long as, as much as, as soon as, as though, because, before, even, even if, even though, if, if only, if when, if then, in order that, just as, now, now that, once, provided, provided that, rather than, since, so that, supposing, than, that , though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, whether, which, while, who, whoever and why

Keep in mind that some of the above can also act as prepositions which start phrases. The  determining factor will be if the group of words contains a verb. If so, then the word is a subordinate conjunction. We hope that clears the air!

Here are a few more examples of complex sentences. We have outlined the principal clause in bold letters and the subordinate clause in italics.

1. Bloggingfrog and Lily jumped into the pond before the rain started.

2. Because the man failed to pay his taxes, he was sent to jail. (if a sentence begins with a subordinate clause, then you must put a comma after it.)

3. Some anxious people get nervous whenever they think about grammar.

4. Although the landscaper laid new sod, he still had to water it.

5. If a dependent clause stands alone, it is called a sentence fragment.

And there you have it…the complex sentence, which really isn’t so complex. The final stage of sentence construction is just about ready to begin; Lily and I, however, have decided to go for a dip in the pond and catch some rays thereafter. You should do the same…very refreshing and it will undoubtedly keep you focused and thirsty (for knowledge)…our good friends…Splash!

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 10: “WHAT’S IN A NAME?”…

…”THAT WHICH WE CALL A ROSE, BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD SMELL AS SWEET.”

Ah yes, the unforgettable lines spoken by Juliet to her lover Romeo in Shakespeare’s most poignant lyrical tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’. No attempt will be made to explain the context of these words; we use them instead, to bring to light some of the most disturbing and, at times, disparaging moments when attempting to learn the rudiments (a fancy word for ‘basics’) of a language.

You see, one of the problems with learning anything is having to deal with the inherent duplicity of terms. For example, remember a few lessons ago when we introduced the four types of sentences? Yes, there are, have been and always will be, only four ways of expressing a complete thought, but when we count up the actual number of alternate names, we arrive at nine. How do we get from four to nine? We give you duplicity…

THE FOUR TYPES OF SENTENCES:

1. Statement 2. Question 3. Command 4. Exclamation

…AND ‘A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…”

1. Statement, Assertive, Declarative 2. Interrogative, Question 3. Imperative, Command 4. Exclamatory, Exclamation

I suppose we’ll have to blame the folks who came up with the original system of naming types of sentences. Imagine, if you will, a group of scholars (or knights) sitting around the table of inventiveness trying to come to an agreement as to which word might best capture the essence of a particular type of sentence. These scholarly knights have been arguing for days…

Scholar 1 says, “I think the word ‘statement’ is the perfect summation for a group of words which simply tells or informs, eh, what?”

Scholar 2 retorts, “Oh Rodney, that’s hardly a clever term. I should think ‘assertive’ is a tad bit more intellectual. To ‘assert’ oneself is to state with undeniable assurance…er, confidence…yes, absolute force! I think we must call it an assertive sentence…I rest my case…”

Scholar 3 adds, “Most humble gentlemen, if one is to make known or explain a simple fact, then we must surely consider the motive as one of declaration; hence, I suggest we call it a declarative sentence…”

The volley of voices begin, growing louder and more frenzied as each of the scholars vie for the victory…chairs are upended…swords are drawn…enter the Court Jester who sees the need for a cooling-off period…

“Sir knights of the square table…put down your weapons and rekindle your sense of sanity… how sad it is to watch yon keepers of the holy grail of grammar grovel greedily. How sad indeed!”

A light goes on! Silence enters the room and the angry men with ruffled collars eye one another…”Hmmm, says the one, I do believe the Fool has given us food for thought. He utters the word SAD, but my friends, this could make us all happy. ‘Statement’, Assertive’, ‘Declarative’…we all win gentlemen…S.A.D. it shall be! Do we all agree?”

“Hear, hear!” (end of story)

Obviously, one of the scholars left the table (some suggest he ran off with the Fool) shortly thereafter, leaving the other two to agree on names for the remaining three types of sentences. In the end, after a good deal of good-natured prattle, during which neither scholar could agree with the other, the following framework (of duplicity) was summarized…

Interrogative/Question (I.Q)

Imperative/Command (I.C.)

Exclamation/Exclamatory (Exclam)

A foolhardy fable indeed! The fact is, we are saddled with duplicity and must bear it…so suck it up folks and let’s move forward…on to more duplicity!

For our next lesson, we want you to delve into the world of Legoland. That’s correct, we are talking about building with blocks (or blockheads as the case may be). The analogy will help you understand how sentences can be written in such a way as to bring clarity, interest and in many cases downright brilliance. Again however, get ready to ‘soak up the sum’ of duplicity. Constructing sentences, Act One, begins…(from the ground up)

A simple sentence (subject/predicate) can also be called a principal or independent clause. It stands alone as a complete thought. Examples of simple sentences (a.k.a. principal or independent clauses) are as follows:

The moon shone brightly.

Romeo is a Montague.

Many people adored the young lovers..

How brilliant! So short and sweet! Each subject and predicate connecting perfectly. A complete thought  (also known as a simple sentence, principal or independent clause) is born. Magnificent!

Alas ye lovers of Lego…build on! Weave together a more intricate web of words and construct anew…Take two simple sentences and marry them together using a coordinating conjunction…Behold, the compound sentence!

The moon shone brightly, and the stars twinkled in the sky.

Romeo was a Montague, but Juliet was a Capulet. (in case you haven’t read the play, Montague and Capulet are the young lovers’ surnames)

Many people adored the young lovers, yet their warring families continued the feud.

Note: The comma before the conjunction is recommended but not necessary.

Now would be a good time to give you a GRAMMAR HEADS UP! Many writers, especially younger ones or those learning English as a second language, will put two simple sentences together without using a conjunction. A comma is used in its place.  This is a major grammatical boo-boo! NO CAN DO, DO! What you manage to create is what is known in Grammarland as a run-on sentence. A comma is not strong enough to connect two simple sentences; a coordinate conjunction, on the other hand, is.

Having said that, there is a punctuation mark that can be used effectively to replace the conjunction. Please reread the last sentence of our previous paragraph and you should be able to spot it. Yes, the semicolon (a combination of a period atop a comma) can do the trick. It’s an effective alternative to using a conjunction, but don’t overuse it. It’s also important to remember that when using a semicolon the two simple sentences must have something in common (unlike the knights of the square table who couldn’t agree on anything). Check these out…

The moon shone brightly; the stars twinkled in the sky.

Romeo was a Montague; Juliet was a Capulet.

Many people adored the young lovers; their warring families continued the feud.

And there you have it! Well, there’s more of course…isn’t there always more? We shall return anon (Shakespearean term meaning soon) with yet another dose of duplicity…till then…Watch Your Language, eh?

Bloggingfrog and Lily

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 9: A ‘DIRECT’ HIT…OR NOT!

It’s time again to enlarge our repertoire or catalogue of grammatical labels. So far, we have been introduced to the following terms when parsing (analyzing) a sentence:

SUBJECT: The word or words that names or name what is being talked about. (Yes, I dangled my preposition…more about that faux pas later.)

BARE SUBJECT: The most important naming word or words (remember that conjunctions can join two words as in the following example: Mary and Tom are related. Mary/Tom are the bare subjects.) (Check this one out: Neither the doctor, his nurse nor his patient has seen the results of the tests. The bare subjects are doctor, nurse and patient.)

MODIFIERS OF THE BARE SUBJECT: Words or groups of words that enhance or add details to the bare subject(s).

PREDICATE: The word or words that tells or tell about the subject.

BARE PREDICATE: The action or linking word or words that specify what the bare subject is up to, has been up to, or will be up to (tense).

MODIFIERS OF THE BARE PREDICATE: If the bare predicate shows action, we look for words that tell how, when, where or why about the bare predicate. If the bare predicate is non-action there may be a word that completes or means the same as the bare subject.

SUBJECTIVE COMPLETION: A word that follows a non-action or linking bare predicate and means the same as or completes the bare subject.

All right everyone, time to throw you two more pieces of the puzzle.

1. DIRECT OBJECT OF THE VERB.

2. INDIRECT OBJECT OF THE VERB.

Yep! That’s all we have for you today…and really, if you get good at picking these babies out of a line, you will begin to understand right from wrong when writing or speaking. Let’s begin with #1: What exactly is a DIRECT OBJECT OF THE VERB? Look at the following two examples paying particular attention to the words in bold letters; these are the direct objects of the verb (which are written in italics).

Example 1: Santa Claus brings presents each year.

Example 2: Many music fanatics adore the Beatles.

‘presents’ and ‘Beatles’ both follow an action verb and answer the question ‘what’ or ‘who’ about the bare predicate or verb. Both words are nouns but they could be pronouns. Take Example 2 for instance. It could have read, ‘Many music fanatics adore them. That’s it in a nutshell! A DIRECT OBJECT TELLS ‘WHAT’ OR ‘WHO’ ABOUT AN ACTION VERB. End of story…well, not quite…we now have to show you what an indirect object of a verb is…

Okay grammar fanatics, don’t lose your focus. All we are going to do is reuse Example 1 and slip in an indirect object of the verb. Ready…steady…bring it on!

Example 3: Santa Claus brings us presents each year.

‘brings’ is the action verb or bare predicate

‘presents’ is the direct object of the verb since it tells us what Santa brings.

‘us’ tells us to whom or for whom Santa brings the presents. This, ladies and gents, is the indirect object of the verb or bare predicate.

Now analyze this sentence completely:

1. The generous Bloggingfrog bought Lily a new pad on which to relax.

Here’s how it should go:

Subject: ‘The generous Bloggingfrog’  Bare Subject: ‘Bloggingfrog’ Modifiers of the bare subject: ‘the’ and ‘generous’

Predicate: ‘bought Lily a new pad on which to relax’ Bare Predicate: ‘bought’

Modifiers of the bare predicate: No words or phrases tell when, where, how or why about the bare predicate or verb, so there aren’t any! So now we ask ourselves, “Is the bare predicate an action verb?” The answer is yes! Okay, so what are the rest of the words doing? Is there, for example, a word that tells us ‘what’ Bloggingfrog bought? ‘pad’ is correct so we have identified the direct object of the verb or b.p.. Next, is there a word that tells us for whom the pad was bought? Yes, it’s Lily, so now we have identified the indirect object of the verb. Great, but not quite finished…’on which to relax’ is left…Hopefully, you were able to recognize ‘on’ as a preposition which starts the phrase. If so, all you have to do is find which word this phrase describes. You have two choices: ‘bought’ or ‘pad’…

If you chose ‘pad’ then give yourself a pad, we mean pat, on the back! ‘on which to relax’ is a prepositional or adjective phrase describing the noun (direct object) ‘pad’.

Oh, but we feel a certain uneasiness within our group. If you have any doubts about the indirect object, then we should take a moment to clarify. Let us return to Example 3:

Santa brings us presents each year.

Suppose the above sentence had read, “Santa brings presents to us each year.”

What’s different about the two statements?

You got it! In the second sentence, we tossed in the word ‘to’ and if you’ve been following closely, ‘to’ is a preposition so it introduces a phrase. In this case, the phrase is ‘to us’ and it tells us where the presents are brought. ‘to us’ , therefore, is a prepositional (or adverb) phrase, NOT the indirect object).

Tricky? Yes! So how can we tell the difference? Easy…if there is no preposition, we have an indirect object of the verb (‘to’ whom or ‘for’ whom is understood but do NOT appear in the sentence). Once we insert a preposition, then we change the nuance of the sentence and must look for a prepositional or adverb phrase.

Let’s look again…we have nothing better to do. Right?

1. We are studying grammar rules. (‘rules’ is the direct object of the verb phrase ‘are studying’. It tells us what we are studying.)

2.  The teacher gave the class a test. (‘test’ tells us what the teacher gave so it is the direct object of the verb ‘gave’)…(‘class’ is the indirect object of the verb ‘gave’ and tells us to whom the test was given.)

3. The teacher gave a test to the class. (‘test’ again tells us what the teacher gave so it is the direct object of the verb ‘gave’)…(‘to the class’ is a prepositional (adverb) phrase which modifies the verb ‘gave’)…Do you see the difference?

4. Give him the credit. ***Please notice that this is an imperative sentence (or a command). We often do not say it but ‘you’ is the implied subject and bare subject. ‘credit’ tells us what must be given so it is the direct object of the verb ‘give’)…(‘him’ tells us to whom  credit must be given, so it is the indirect object of the verb ‘give’)

5. Paul McCartney is a favourite Beatle. Aha! If you think Beatle is the direct object of the verb ‘is’, then you had better think again. Why? Because the verb ‘is’ is one of those non-action verbs or states of being so you’ll NEVER find a direct or indirect object following.  ‘Beatle’ tells us what McCartney is (or means the same as Paul McCartney) so it is considered to be the subjective completion.

There, that’s enough for now! Go back, review, think, and try to make some sense of it all, after which, we’ll forge onward on our ‘Watch Your Language, eh?’ journey. Stay thirsty (for knowledge) my friends…best wishes,

Bloggingfrog & Lily

CURSES! OILED AGAIN!

I’m pumped! Can anyone in Economics Ville please help me, and I’m sure the rest of the country, understand how (and you might as well throw in ‘why’) oil companies have decided to, once again, give us another ‘Lube Job’ by raising the price of a litre of gasoline by almost five cents?  Overnight! Out of the blue! As oil prices fall! That’s a mighty hefty kick in the gas can!

I would tell the Premier or the Prime Minister that we’ve been sucker punched but I dare not interrupt them. They’re usually in bed with the slippery dipsticks who make these rather ruthless and dysphemistic decisions. A nickel a litre is like hitting triple 7’s at the casino. Ain’t nobody going to leave the ‘one-armed bandit’ till the bells stop ringing and the fat-cat oil execs starts singing, “Another round for my good friends! Roll out the barrel and while we’re at it, let’s raise the price another nickel next week. Everybody’s a winner!”

Oh yes, we are indeed winners. More like wieners I think. Little porkers that are poked, choked and smoked by a gutless gang of gas gougers who would have us believe they are doing it for the good of Mankind.

Well, this little piggie knows better but can’t do a damn thing about it! My friends, Robin Hood is dead! The Sheriff and his men have won out in the end and their goal is obvious: Steal from the poor piggies so the rich hogs can have more!

That’s all I can say for now except I know my tank’s closing in on the big ‘E’ and tomorrow I’ll be reaching deeper into my pockets (and whatever I can find in my piggy bank), just like the thousands of other suckers who really have no choice but to pay the Pitiful Pipers of the Pump!

One thing I do know about finance and economics: pigs get fat – hogs get slaughtered. We can only wish. One day my friends…one day…

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 8: “HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY”…

Paul Mcsomething or other has taken our challenge and has sent in the following rewrite of the famous Beatles’ tune titled ‘8 Days a Week’. Let’s have a REALLY BIG SHOUT-OUT to Paul (who claims he’s a knight and the co-author of “8 Days..”). Yeah! Yeah! Yeah, right! What some folks won’t do to get on this site…Go ahead Sir Paul, let’s hear what you’ve got! Ladies and gentlemen, here’s Paul Mcsomething or other with his new hit…

8 PARTS OF SPEECH

It’s time to parse a sentence,

Maybe even two,

Hope you’ll do it right now,

Just like frog’s shown you.

Go, oh, oh…

B. S., oh yes,

B. P., I see

Ain’t got nothin’ but words yeah

8 Part of Speech…

Nice one Paul (Sir Paul if we really believed you). That should get all the folks in Grammarville (a suburb of Grammarland) stoked. If you’d like to stick around, we’ll do a quickie review of the 8 Parts of Speech. Bring on our acronym!

PAPA VINC

P is for pronouns. To avoid the overuse of nouns, we replace them with pronouns. ‘He’ or ‘him’ could be used in place of ‘Sir Paul’, ‘they’ or them’ could replace ‘Beatles’ (but nobody could ever replace the Fab 4), ‘it’ could be a sub for ‘bloggingfrog’, and on and on. We’ve really only scratched the surface in our study of pronouns. As Randy Bachman (I don’t believe he’s been knighted) put it, “B-b-baby you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” (we’ll excuse his egregious grammar this time).

A is for adjectives. They describe or modify nouns. Good writers always keep a Thesaurus handy so they can choose the most effective adjectives. Why say ‘beautiful’ when you can substitute it for ‘pulchritudinous’? Just ask Steven Tyler. His new book titled ‘Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?’ is filled with a lecherous litany of profundity (you figure it out!).

P is for prepositions. Like Ed Sullivan, prepositions like to introduce acts…in their case, they introduce or start groups of words called phrases. ‘To’, ‘Of’ and ‘In’ are tops in their field…actually they’re among the Top 10 most used words in English. Prepositional phrases (adjective & adverb) do not contain a verb (as you will soon learn, groups of words which modify AND contain a verb are called subordinate clauses).

A is for adverbs. These darlings perform one of three important duties. #1: They modify verbs (indicate ‘how’, ‘where’, ‘when’ or ‘why’ something happened, happens or will happen and they usually end in ‘ly’). #2 They modify themselves (example: Sir Paul plays very beautifully. ‘beautifully’ is an adverb, telling us ‘how’ Sir Paul plays. ‘very‘ indicates a new level of just ‘how’ beautifully he plays) #3 Finally, adverbs can describe adjectives (example: Sir Paul is extremely talented. ‘talented’ is an adjective used as the subjective completion and ‘extremely’ indicates just ‘how’ talented he is).

V for verbs. Very important words! They indicate the time (tense), the action or they simply connect or link the bare subject with a subjective completion. V = versatile! Go verbs!

I are Interjections (a little grammar humour). Wow! Yikes! Bah! Phooey! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! (Thanks Paulie)…Spice up your life with these emotional blasters! Hockinsmock! (Was that you Mr. Bachman? You’ll never get a knighthood speaking that way.)

N is for nouns. You need a name for something or somebody? You’ve got yourself a noun! They identify people, places and things. Sir Paul, from Liverpool, is a Beatle (No, not a car!.)

C for conjunctions. Coordinate, Subordinate and Correlative if you must know. Simply put, they join words, phrases or clauses. Sir Paul has requested a demonstration for each type and since he did write that lovely song for us, I think it’s only fair.

Example 1: Sir Paul and Randy are terrific musicians. (coordinate conjunction). In this case, there are two bare subjects (Sir Paul & Randy). ‘and’ coordinates or brings the two together.

Example 2: Sir Paul must leave after he finishes this sentence. (subordinate conjunction) Here is your first (but not last) look at a subordinate clause…’after he finishes this sentence’. It’s almost like a complete sentence; it does have its own bare subject (‘he’) and bare predicate ‘finishes’. It cannot, however, stand by itself as a complete thought but try telling that to a Grade 2 student!

Example 3: Neither Paul nor Randy has failed to make it big in the industry. (correlative conjunction)…pairs that go together…other famous correlative conjunctions include either/or, both/and, not only/but also) *****Wow! A 5 star point of information. ‘neither/nor’ and ‘either/or’ can fool a lot of people into choosing the wrong verb (Quit playing with that guitar Paul and pay attention!). Here’s what we mean:

Neither Lily nor Bloggingfrog (is or are?) going to Randy’s concert. Notice that our correlative conjunction (‘neither/nor’) keeps the two singular bare subjects (Lily & Bfrog) apart. Since we are implying that neither is going, then we have but one choice and the correct one is ‘is’ (sorry about the repetition). By the way, the same thing goes when using ‘either/or’. Keep the verb singular UNLESS…one of the bare subjects is plural in which case you use the plural form of the verb. A few examples will help to clarify this important 5 star point…

Either he or she has the information. (‘he’/’she’ are both singular so choose ‘has’ not ‘have’ as your verb.)

Either Tom or his friends have the information. (‘Tom’ is singular; however, ‘friends’ is plural, so we choose the plural form of the verb ‘have’.)

Neither the police officers nor the convict were present. (‘officers’ is plural, ‘convict is singular’ so we say or write ‘were’ – not ‘was’). I repeat: if ‘neither/nor’ or ‘either/or’ connects two bare subjects, one of which is plural, USE THE PLURAL FORM OF THE VERB…

…and before we say ‘ta-ta’ (British for “Get me the heck out of here, old chap!”) remember this last bit of advice:

ALWAYS USE ‘NEITHER’ with ‘NOR and ‘EITHER’ with ‘OR’…It’s like the song of old:

“Love and marriage, love and marriage

Go together like a horse and carriage,

This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the other…”

For the record, neither Sir Paul nor Randy is the author of this song. Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote this classic in 1955. Now that was truly a Fab number! Frank Sinatra made it famous.

Enough for today…hope all the people who visit this site are learning as they go. We wouldn’t have it any other way…most of all, we wish that Mankind would learn to share the bounties of our planet…why can’t we all just sit down and enjoy a meal together (and of course discuss the merits of good grammar)…now, back to our ‘pad’…

Bloggingfrog & Lily

p.s. Goodnight knight!

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 7: LET IT ‘BE’…


Question: What do the following words have in common? AM, IS, ARE, WAS, WERE, BEEN, ARE BEING, MIGHT HAVE BEEN, SHOULD HAVE BEEN,
 COULD HAVE BEEN…

Answer: They’re a bunch of slackers…so to speak.

In truth, they are what grammarians would call the only true non-action, or linking verbs (some of you Baby Boomers may have been told they are copula verbs…we’ll accept that too!). These verbs are like a lot of teenagers who prefer just to hang out and do as little as possible. The thing is, however, they’re a very important group!

In blog #6, we made brief mention of a ‘subjective completion’. A subject completion (same thing, fewer letters to type) does exactly what it says. It completes (means the same as) or describes the subject (bare subject that is). And where, pray tell, does one find a subject completion? In the predicate, of course!

Please don’t leave! We know it sounds strange but that’s the nature of the King’s English (he too was a bit odd, to say the least)…Actually, when we break it down for you (parse a sentence) it should become quite clear. Like so…

It is she.  It‘ is the subject and bare subject since there are no modifiers. ‘Was’ is the verb but notice it shows no action, rather a state of being. ‘Was’ links or connects the bare subject and ‘she’, which, as you can see, completes or means the same as ‘it’. Et voila, ‘she’ is our subjective completion.

In all likelihood, most people would have used ‘her’, not ‘she’. The clue, however, comes after we parse the sentence and see that the word that follows the non-action verb (‘was’)  completes or means the same as the bare subject..

Quickly…back to your Personal Pronoun Chart…you have two choices: the subjective or objective case of the pronoun (she or her). All signs point to subjective…as in subjective completion. ‘She’ wins!

The same is true for each of the non-action or linking verbs from the above chart.

It was they. (not It was them.) I am he. (not I am him) It might have been I. (not It might have been me.)

There’s more to this subjective completion thing…lots more! It was important to make this brief stop along the way and try to explain the truth about things that sound quite strange (but are true). It’s all about connections isn’t it? “The hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone…the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone, and on and on…”

Grammar is anatomy! Analyze that my friends. Go ahead. Pick this three-word sentence apart and see the connections. Shoot for the stars…(“You want the moves like Jagger…I’ve got the moves like Jagger…I’ve got the mooooooooooves like Jagger”). Thanks Maroon 5…we needed that! Okay, here we go:

Grammar‘ is our subject and bare subject (since it stands alone). It comes from the noun family. “is” is the bare predicate (a non-action or linking verb). ‘anatomy‘ is the subjective completion since it follows a non-action verb and completes the subject. It too is a noun.

Fabulous! And speaking of the Fab 4 (who never moved like Jagger) try this one:

For several decades the Beatles have been unbelievably popular. 

Question (Q): Of whom are we speaking? In other words, what is the subject?

Answer (A): ‘The Beatles’.

Q: Which of the two words is the bare subject (most important naming word)?

A: ‘Beatles’ (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhhhh….)

Q: What word modifies (in this case makes it definite…as in article) the bare subject?

A:  ‘The‘ (duh!)

Q: What is the predicate?

A: ‘have been unbelievably popular for several decades‘ (this statement has been written in split order)

Q: What is the bare predicate?

A: ‘have been‘ (‘been’ is one of those non-action or linking verbs…’have’ is there to give it support and suggest that the Beatles should continue to be popular).

Q: Is there a subject(ive) completion? (hint: where there’s a non-action or linking bare predicate or verb, then chances are there will be a word that completes or describes the subject)

A: ‘popular‘ is the subject completion.

Q: Do any words or groups of words modify the bare predicate? (hint: ask the questions ‘how’, ‘where’, ‘when’ or ‘why’ and you’ll be able to pick out modifiers.)

A: ‘for several decades’ modifies the bare predicate (tells us ‘when‘ or ‘how’ long‘)

Q: Which word have we not included in our analysis? What is its function?

A: ‘unbelievably‘ tells us ‘how’ popular.

Great! Now that we have broken the sentence into its component or functional parts (parsed the sentence), let’s name each word accordingly. In other words, what part of speech is each word?

For several decades‘ is an adverb phrase. ‘For’ starts the phrase (preposition). ‘several‘ modifies ‘decades’ (adjective). ‘decades‘ is the object of the preposition ‘for’ (noun).

the‘ (definite article belonging to adjective family)

Beatles‘ (noun)

have been‘ (verb phrase…‘have’ is the auxiliary or helping verb and ‘been’ is the main or principal verb)

unbelievably‘ (adverb…adverbs usually end in ‘ly‘ and can describe verbs, other adverbs and in this case, adjectives)

popular‘ (adjective)

“O-bla-di, O-bla-da life goes on brah!” That’s enough for one day but if you are a Beatles’ fan, let’s close today’s ‘show’ with a reworked version of another ‘unbelievably popular’ Fab 4 tune:

It’s been a hard day’s night

And we’ve been parsing like a fool,

Oh such a hard day’s night

Yes, we’ve been to Grammar school,

But we just wanna cry

If we use ‘me’ not ‘I”

Can make us fe-el uptight!…

And with that, we bid you goodnight. If anyone out there in Grammarland would like to try his or her hand at rewriting a Beatles’ classic, we invite you to send us your lyrics to the tune of “Eight Parts of Speech” (8 Days A Week)…Google these tunes if you’ve never heard them…keep smiling,

Bloggingfrog & Lily