Hi everyone,

I heard this on a film and when I try and decompose it using sentence diagramming I get stuck trying to define what each word's function is.

Is it possible someone define each each word please?

The sentence: "I have something important to tell you."

The movie was: Conspiracy Theory;  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...piracy_Theory_(film) 

Many thanks,

Philip

 

Original Post
Philip posted:
The sentence: "I have something important to tell you."

Hello, Philip, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange!

I don't think definitions are what you need. You probably know what all the words making up that sentence mean. What you really want is to understand  the structure of the sentence.

"Something" is modified two times consecutively. It is first modified by the adjective "important," which can be considered a reduced relative clause. "Something" is then modified by "to tell you," a nonfinite relative clause.

Consider the following reformulations of the sentence:

  • I have something to tell you that is important.
  • I have something which is important which I need to tell you.
  • I have something which I need to tell you which is important.
Philip posted:

I'll be honest, I'll need to do more work to understand.
What would be sentence pattern i.e. is it SVOO or SVOC...

Hi, Philip,

The sentence pattern is SVO. The subject is "I," the verb is "have," and the direct object is "something important to tell you," which is one noun phrase.

You might want to work on the sentences "I have something," "I have something important" and "I have something to tell you," which your example combines.

Hi David,

What initially confused me was the placement of "important" which is different from where most adjectives are placed (attributive position - before the noun). 

But in this one, its Verb + Object + Adjective.

Much appreciated.  I have just purchased this book, which after previewing is very good.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Kind regards,

Philip

 

Philip posted:

What initially confused me was the placement of "important" which is different from where most adjectives are placed (attributive position - before the noun). 

Hi, Philip,

I wondered if that was part of what was troubling you. It's true that, with most nouns, attributive adjectives precede rather than follow the noun. However, with pronouns like "something," "someone," "anything," "anyone," "everything," "nothing," etc., the attributive adjective always comes after the pronoun. The following is totally ungrammatical: *"I have important something to tell you."

Philip posted:

Would I be correct in saying in the sentence "I have something to tell you",  "to tell you" is an infinitive (adjective) ?

"Tell" is an infinitive. "To tell you" is an infinitival clause. It is functioning as a non-finite relative clause. It is not an adjective; however, like all relative clauses (e.g., the underlined one in "I have something important that I need to tell you"), it functions as an adjectival modifier. Not all adjectival modifiers are adjectives. Nouns, prepositional phrases, and clauses can be adjectival modifiers, too.

Philip posted:

 

If I may, in the sentence "She was alone that evening." What does "that evening" function as - I think understanding this one will help with the earlier examples. 

Hi, Sandra,

I think Philip meant to ask this question in this other thread, where David said that any such phrases are to be considered as adverbial noun phrases, which I agree with.

Syntactically speaking, "that evening" functions as an adverbial adjunct of time.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:
Philip posted:

 

If I may, in the sentence "She was alone that evening." What does "that evening" function as - I think understanding this one will help with the earlier examples. 

Hi, Sandra,

I think Philip meant to ask this question in this other thread, where David said that any such phrases are to be considered as adverbial noun phrases, which I agree with.

Syntactically speaking, "that evening" functions as an adverbial adjunct of time.

So, would this be correct:

Form = noun phrase

Function = adverbial adjunct of time

Clause type: SVA??

 

Philip posted:

So, would this be correct:
Form = noun phrase
Function = adverbial adjunct of time
Clause type: SVA??

Hi, Philip,

No, "She was alone that evening" is not SVA. The basic clause type is SVC ("She was alone") and the sentence simply has an adverbial addition ("that evening"). "When was she alone?" -- "That evening" / "On that evening."

We speak of the clause type SVA in reference to sentences like "The kitchen is downstairs" (Quirk et al., 1985, p. 1171), where the adverbial is part of the core clause; the sentence can't do without it.

In "She was alone that evening," the basic clause is "She was alone" (SVC) and "that evening" is an adjunct. The same adjunct can be added to an SVO sentence like "She petted her dog." We can say, "She petted her dog that evening."

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