Homer B The Merchant of Venice

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Homer B The Merchant of Venice

Postby ccinIdaho » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:33 pm

Hi Carolyn,

Would you be able to help me with the adverb question for the prep phrase "with them" for the parsed sentence? I thought "with them" would come off of "was" but the answer key has it coming off of "generous"; however, I can't figure out which adverb question it's answering.

Also for the parsed sentence, I thought the adjectival prep phrase "among whom" was modifying "friends" and not "relation." Why would it be modifying relation?

Thanks!
C.C.
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Re: Homer B The Merchant of Venice

Postby admin » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:36 am

C.C.,

'With them' answers a question of degree or extent - to what degree was he generous? To what extent was he generous? That said, it is probably better placed modifying 'was'. I shall get that fixed.

'Among whom' -- (shakes head sadly). That can't possibly be connecting anything to relatives, since relatives aren't in the sentence. Let's go with friends. A synonym of relatives, at least in some families. Once that error is out of the way, we have two ideas:

1. (He relieved) the wants of his friends.
2. His relation Bassanio held the first place among whom.

'Among whom' is a prepositional phrase. It contains a relative pronoun, which complicates the parsing. If we look at the clause, then the prepositional phrase answers the question 'where' - so it's adverbial, not adjectival, and modifies held. 'Whom' is both the object of the preposition and a stand-in for the word 'friends', making it 3rd person plural.

Having thus wreaked havoc with the latter half of the parsing table in the answer key, the last thing to figure out is 'what IS the 'his relation' clause doing in the sentence? It's connected to 'friends' via the relative pronoun 'whom'. The clause doesn't describe his friends, though, or answer any of the standard adjective questions. It's more of an aside, introducing Bassanio. The best I can come up with is that it is a noun clause -- but I will definitely do some more thinking and checking on that.
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Re: Homer B The Merchant of Venice

Postby ccinIdaho » Wed May 01, 2013 10:04 am

Hi Carolyn,

I was needing just a little more clarification about "among whom." I couldn't visualize how "his relation, Bassanio, held the first place" was being attached to a diagram of the sentence. I had diagrammed it with "among whom" coming off of friends and then a dashed line from "whom" connecting to "relation"; however, if "among whom" is modifying "held," then that won't work. So, should a dashed line from "friends" connect the noun clause "his relation..." to "friends" and then "among whom" would be a prep phrase off of "held"?

Thanks,
C.C.
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Re: Homer B The Merchant of Venice

Postby admin » Wed May 01, 2013 2:28 pm

Among whom, as a preposition, does indeed modify 'held'. The whole clause with 'held' is a subordinate clause connected to the main clause by a dotted line connecting whom, the relative pronoun, to friends.

Carolyn
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Re: Homer B The Merchant of Venice

Postby ccinIdaho » Fri May 03, 2013 3:25 pm

Hi,

More pesky prep questions. As I went through this lesson with my children, we were wondering how "of his riches" could modify "proud." Since "proud" is a Pred. Adj. and "of his riches" is adjectival, I didn't think an adjective could describe another adjective. So, does it modify an implied "was" (as "generous" modifies "was")? Also, while we're at it, I don't really understand why these prep phrases would be describing the linking verb, unless it's for the reason that an adj can't modify an adj.

Thanks,
C.C.
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Re: Homer B The Merchant of Venice

Postby admin » Sat May 04, 2013 7:24 am

You're right that adjectives don't modify adjectives. (I would really like them to, sometimes.) "Of his riches" is adverbial, for just that reason. You could says that the prepositional phrase tells the source of his pride. I think it must derive from some Latin construction in which an adjective governed a case - like cupidus, similis, etc.

So far as prepositional phrases modifying linking verbs -- it is difficult for me to wrap my mind around those as well. I can see that's it's needful -- consider "She was sick in bed." That breaks down nicely into "She was sick" and "She was in bed." The first sentence looks like it has a linking verb, the second looks like the verb is showing state. We mash it into one sentence, and end up with a linking verb being modified by a prepositional phrase.

And now, as I think on it, I'm not sure whether I like 'with them' belonging to 'was' or 'generous.' Maybe we can pretend "was generous" is a verb phrase and have it come from the verb phrase. (Unfortunately, 'generous' doesn't follow any rules for participle formation that I know of, so this will only work in pretend.)

Carolyn
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