General Writing and Grammar Help/parsing

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Question
Dear Ted,

Would you please help me parse the following sentence:
"It seems to me that I know you."

What does the prepositional phrase "to me" modify?

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich:

There are rare occurrences in which a word or phrase in a sentence does not modify anything in the sentence OR it modifies the entire sentence.  They can be treated like parenthetical expressions that are not necessary to the sentence at all. Your example of "to me" is such an expression.  Some others that are in this category are the following:  

I think or I believe -- parenthetically interjected into a sentence
As to my belief
As to my thinking
From my point of view

And many others . . . . They are useless.  They detract from the sentence itself.  Most of the time they make reference to the first person [I or we or my or me  . . . .] and make the sentence sound egocentric.  They are "outside" the sentence and have no grammatical relationship to anything IN the sentence.

In your example, the actual sentence should be "I think that I know you."

Here is a website for more extensive information:


What does the prepositional phrase "to me" modify?
http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2011/07/to-me.html

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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