General Writing and Grammar Help/parsing

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Question
Dear Ted,

Can you please tell me how to parse the following sentence.
“I hope to have been of help to you.”

Here is my attempt:

I  =   subject

hope   =  verb

to have been   =    infinitive phrase used as direct object

of help  =  adjectival prepositional phrase that modifies the direct object “to have been”

to you  =   indirect object


I am having a difficult time understanding how to classify “of help”.  Since “of help” follows an infinitive phrase  -  is “of help” an “object of the infinitive”?

If ‘yes”,  does this mean that it is possible for a prepositional phrase to be used as an “object of the infinitive”?

Thank you very much.  

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich:

"I hope to have been of help to you.”

Here is my attempt:

I  =   subject

hope   =  verb

to have been   =    infinitive phrase used as direct object

of help  =  adjectival prepositional phrase that modifies the direct object “to
have been”

to you  =   indirect object


I am having a difficult time understanding how to classify “of help”.  Since “of
help” follows an infinitive phrase  -  is “of help” an “object of the
infinitive”?

If ‘yes”,  does this mean that it is possible for a prepositional phrase to be
used as an “object of the infinitive”?

*** Rich, where or how did you come up with this sentence?  I have checked numerous grammar and style books, as well as several online searches.  I found only ONE Google search that has a similar construction and it was at an ESL forum.  That's not a good source.  The sentence is both awkward and archaic. No one talks [or writes] like this.

"of help" means "helpful," which is an adjective modifying the subject of the sentence.

Here is a better version of what you have written:  I hope that I was helpful to you.

I = subject; hope = verb; that I was helpful to you = noun clause serving as the direct object of "hope."  I + hope + WHAT?

*** Looking back at your parsing, I reluctantly go along with most of it.  However, "to you" cannot be an indirect object.  It is a prepositional phrase.  Indirect objects cannot have prepositions like "to."

I strongly suggest that you NEVER use a sentence constructed in this manner.

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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