General Writing and Grammar Help/Parsing problems

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Question
Thanks, Ted, for volunteering and helping so many.

I like to be grammatically correct in my writing, but sometimes I cannot grammatically justify a commonly used expression. I'm hoping you can parse or justify the following for me:

1. I'm curious why he did that.
2. I'm not sure what that means.
3. The best way to do it....
4. I have difficulty finding....
5. Tickets are $3.
6. The way I wrote it...

~Richard

Answer
Parsing
Parsing  
Dear Richard:

UPDATE:  If this works, I am attaching a document with your first sentence parsed.  The "'m" is actually the verb "am."  The sentence you sent me originally is NOT a sentence.  You cannot write, "I'm curious WHY."  So, I inserted the preposition "about" to make the sentence complete.  

The top horizontal line is the main or independent clause.  The vertical line drawn through the middle of the main line separates the complete subject [left of the vertical line] and the complete predicate [right of the vertical line].

"I" is the subject; "am" is the verb.

"Curious" is a predicate adjective, an adjective that appears in the predicate part of the sentence BUT modifies the subject "I."  The line between "am" and "curious" is slanted to indicate that "curious" refers BACK to the subject "I."

The preposition "about" is placed alone on a downward slanted line.  That line is UNDER the predicate part of the main clause, so the prepositional phrase will modify the predicate, and not the subject.

The "about" slanted line leads to another horizontal line -- going TO the dependent clause part of the sentence.  On the second horizontal line there is a structure that looks like the letter "t."  At the top of that line, there is another horizontal line and this line contains the adverbial clause, a dependent clause.  The adverbial clause answers the question "why."  All adverbs answer questions.

"He" [left of the vertical line] is the subject.  "Did" [right of the vertical line] is the verb.  To the right of "did" is another vertical line, but this line does not bisect the horizontal line; it stops when the horizontal line is reached.  That vertical marks indicates that there is an object, and, in the case, the direct object of the verb "did" is the pronoun "that."  

The word "why" is placed on a slanted line below the verb "did."  That indicates it modifies the verb "did," so it is an adverb.

I have spent more than one half hour writing the parsing explanation.  I have no idea if my parsing diagram, saved as a Word document, will actually attach to this message.  I'll try.

I answer between 15 and 20 questions per day.  I hope you will understand why I cannot parse a series of sentences.  I just do not have the time.  In my biographical sketch, I made no mention of "parsing," because that kind of diagrammatic exercise has fallen by the wayside.  It's sad, because students who can SEE what they are writing in a schematic way tend to become better writers, in my opinion.  In my nearly 14 years serving at Allexperts, yours is only the second question about parsing that I have received.  I have answered almost 8000 questions

Ted Nesbitt



Thanks, Ted, for volunteering and helping so many.

I like to be grammatically correct in my writing, but sometimes I cannot grammatically justify a commonly used expression. I'm hoping you can parse or justify the following for me:

1. I'm curious why he did that.
2. I'm not sure what that means.
3. The best way to do it....
4. I have difficulty finding....
5. Tickets are $3.
6. The way I wrote it...


*****

Dear Richard:

Parsing sentences online is extremely difficult.  I have helped one other person in the past, but I regret having accepted his parsing questions.  [Incidentally, you and he share the same name.]

I really would like to help you, but online parsing is just too difficult to perform.

Regrets,

Ted Nesbitt

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

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.

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

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