General Writing and Grammar Help/parsing



Would you please help me parse the following sentence:

"It is difficult for me to translate this sentence."

Thank you.  



I am attaching a copy of the diagrammed sentence.

Subject = it
Verb = is
Predicate adjective = difficult
Adverbial prepositional phrase, modifying the verb = for me [answers the question FOR WHAT PERSON?]
Infinitive = to translate
Object of the infinitive [plus the demonstrative adjective] = this sentence.

Rich, because you have used the very weak indefinite pronoun "it" as the subject of your sentence, parsing the sentence itself is difficult.

The grammatically correct version of the sentence is "Translating this sentence is difficult for me."

Subject = translating [gerund]
Object of the gerund and part of the gerund phrase = this sentence
Verb = is
Predicate adjective = difficult [modifies the subject]
Prepositional phrase = for me [the phrase modifies the verb "is" and answers the question FOR WHOM?

*** I have been interrupted by a telephone call, a neighbor at the door, and a barking puppy.  I hope that I have been confusing or that I have made any errors.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thank you so much!

Would you mind telling me how the infinitive "to translate" is used.

Also, I did not get the attachment.  Could you please send it?  I would love to see how this sentence is diagrammed.

Thank you for all.

Very sincerely,


Diagrammed sentence
Diagrammed sentence  
Dear Rich:

Sorry that I forgot the diagram.  In case you lost the link . . . .

"It is difficult for me to translate this sentence."

**** Rich, I want to MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOU UNDERSTAND how confusing it is to parse a sentence that has the very weak subject "it."  [Some people call "it," used in this manner, an "expletive."  What they mean is that the word shouldn't even be in the sentence, because it does not fit the grammatical construction.

SO . . .  If "it" is the subject, then "to translate" must be the predicate nominative.  If you rearrange the sentence, you will have "To translate this sentence IS difficult for me."

On the example, I used "parse" instead of "translate." I hope the diagram shows up.


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Ted Nesbitt


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

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