Basic Phrases

  1. Appositive Phrase
    An Appositive is a noun that follows another noun or pronoun and identifies or explains it.

    Ex. She is going out with Richard, a guy from her spin class.
  2. Verb Phrase
    A Verb Phrase consists of a verb head together with its compliment, which is whatever is required by the verb to make a complete sentence.

    Ex. A truck driver saw the accident.
  3. Linking Verbs
    A branch of the Verb Phrase, Linking Verbs "link" the compliment back to the subject. Ergo, the compliment must give information about or a description of the subject.

    Ex. Donald is funny
    The novel became a best seller

    In the first example the predicate adjective (descriptive adjective) funny describes Donald's personality (Donald = funny). In the second example the predicate nominative (noun phrase) a bestseller tells something about the success of the novel (The novel = a best seller).
  4. Predicate Adjective (subject complement)
    As a compliment of Linking Verbs, a descriptive adjective follows a linking verb and must refer back to the subject. Only linking verbs can have predicate adjectives as compliments.

    • Ex. Olive Oyl sounded happy
    • Popeye was careless
  5. Predicate Nominative (subject complement)
    A compliment of Linking Verbs. Predicate nominatives are noun phrases that follow a linking verbs and describe the subject.

    Ex. Bluto was a bully
    Pluto looked sad
  6. Action Verbs
    A.K.A. Transitive Verbs and Intransitive Verbs. The latter takes no object but may be followed by any number of adverbs, and the former "goes across" (trans) to its Object (compliment). Both, however, refer back to the subject of the verb.

    Ex. (intransitive) I farted
    The children snickered
    All the flowers wilted in the sun

    NOTICE: in the sun is an optional Adverbial Phrase as it is not required by the verb to make a complete sentence (where did the flowers wilt?).

    • (transitive) I punched the wall
    • I bought a new wall
  7. Noun Phrase Object
    The most frequent compliment of a Transitive Verb is a noun phrase acting as the object of the verb.

    • Ex. Simple Simon met a pie-man, going to the fair
    • Simple Simon bought a pie
    • Simple Simon then smashed the pie
    • Unfortunately, Simple Simon didn't have any money to pay for it
    • The pie-man belted the simple bastard

    A Noun Phrase consists of a noun head with all its modifiers, and when built, look like this:

    • (adjectives) + noun + (adjective prepositional phrase) / noun phrase
  8. Indirect objects and Direct Object
    A small but important subgroup of transitive (action) verbs has two objects (both noun phrases), as listed on the face of this card. Take note that only a direct object can be alone; indirect objects are subordinate.

    • Ex. Sally gave her boss (IO) her report (DO)
    • Rick fed his cat (IO) the morphine (DO)
  9. IO and DO Test
    An Indirect Object can be turned into a Prepositional Phrase beginning with either to or for. The Prepositional Phrase is then moved in front of the Direct Object.

    • Ex. Rick fed the morphine (DO) to his cat (Prep. Phr.)
    • Sally gave her VD (DO) to her boss (Prep. Phr.)
    • John got some pizza (DO) for the wrong kids (Prep. Phr.)
  10. Objects and Object Compliments (for action verbs)
    An Object Complement is a noun or descriptive adjective that follows an object (usually a (pro)noun) and refers back to that object.
  11. Objects and Noun Phrase Object Complements (action verbs)
    (2) Noun phrases which complement (select) action verbs, referring back to the object (1st N.P.) that the (2nd) noun phrase is following (similar to linking verbs).

    • Ex. Sally considered John a fool (John = a fool)
    • John named her the cuntiest bitch to walk the earth (her = the cuntiest bitch [...])
    • John then elected Sally Queen Cuntina (Sally = Queen Cuntina)
    • Sally called him the ugliest fuck (John = the ugliest fuck)
    • John dubbed her shit-for-brains (her = shit-for-brains)
  12. Objects and Adjective Object Complements (action verbs)
    A noun phrase object and a descriptive adjective that must refer back to the (N.P.) object of the action verb.

    • Ex. Keep the room clean (clean refers to room)
    • Call him scary (scary refers to him)
    • They painted the town red (red refers to town)
  13. Prepositional Phrases
    Similar construction to the other phrases: Prep. phrase = prep. + noun phrase. The noun head inside the object noun phrase is called the object of the preposition. Prep. Phr. are always modifiers; that is, they are used as adjectives or adverbs and in the same way adjectives and adverbs are used.

    • Ex. After (prep.) the meeting (obj. of prep.)
    • Beneath the earth
    • Since this afternoon
    • Without you
  14. Object of the Preposition
    This is the noun head inside the object noun phrase.
  15. Prepositional Phrases used as Adjectives
    Adjectival Prepositional Phrases can only modify nouns.

    • Ex. The strange book on the top shelf needs to be returned
    • The only cousin in my family was a crackhead

    Again, by definition, a noun phrase consists of a noun head and all its modifiers. When a prep. phr. modifies a noun, then that prep. phr. must also be a part of the noun phrase that it modifies:

    (adjectives) + noun + (adjective prepositional phrase) / noun phrase

    Ex. The (strange) book (on the top shelf) needs to be returned.
  16. 3rd Pers. Pron. Test for Adjectival Prepositional Phrases
    If a noun and a following prep. phr. together can be replaced by a 3rd per. pron. then the prep. phr. must be a modifier of that noun.

    • Ex. The book on the top shelf needs to be returned
    • (It needs to be returned)
    • Ex. The only cousin in my family was a crackhead
    • (He/she was a crackhead)
    • Bananas in the freezer are the worst
    • (They are the worst)
  17. Prepositional Phrases used as Adverbs
    Adverbial Prepositional Phrases (just like adverbs) modify verbs, predicate adjectives, and other adverbs.
  18. Adv. Prep. Phr. used to modify Verbs
    • The most common use for these phrases, they act identically to single-word adverbs, even the adverb test can be applied.
    • REMEMBER: If a word can answer the adverb questions, when, where, why, how, and how often, then that word is an adverb modifying the verb. Also, if a prep. phr. can be moved to a different part of the sentence, then it is an adverb modifying the verb.

    • Ex. We all went to a movie after dinner
    • (when?) (After dinner, we all went to a movie)
    • Ex. The kids quit playing early because of the heat
    • (why?) (Because of the heat, the kids quit playing early)
    • Ex. John punched the door every day
    • (how often?) (Every day, John punched the door)
  19. Adv. Prep. Phr. Used to Modify Predicate Adjectives
    A predicate adjective following an adverb, referring to and describing it, creating a whole phrase.

    • Ex. He is unlucky at love
    • I am happy with my current job
    • We are all ready for dinner
    • The dog was completely under the porch

    : An adjective can only be predicated when a linking verb is involved, therefore, an adv. prep. phr. modifying a pred. adj. must be following a linking verb.

    These configurations are easy to spot: it cannot be a regular adj. prep. phr. because there is no noun for it to modify; it cannot be a verb modifier because it fails the adverb/verb movement test.
  20. Adverb Prepositional Phrases that Modify other Adverbs
    These are ordinary prepositional phrases that proceed adverbs, modifying and describing them.

    Ex. We got there late in the evening
    Our team scored early in the first quarter

    Constructions are limited but they are also easy to identify: Just like adv. prep. phr. these configurations also fail the adverb/verb movement test.
Card Set
Basic Phrases
Basic Phrases in English