General Writing and Grammar Help/grammatical question

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Probably a simple question, but in the years since my study of grammar I've forgotten what I (most likely) once knew.

In the sentence, "I had no difficulty hearing it," what is the relationship between "difficulty" and "hearing." A facile answer would be that "hearing it" is short for "in hearing it," in which case that prepositional phrase modifies "difficulty," but I know there is a better answer, and I'm hoping you'll provide it.

Answer
Hearing
Hearing  
Dear Richard:

  Probably a simple question, but in the years since my study of grammar I've forgotten what I (most likely) once knew.

*** It is not a simple question, because the structure of the sentence is unusual.

In the sentence, "I had no difficulty hearing it," what is the relationship between "difficulty" and "hearing." A facile answer would be that "hearing it" is short for "in hearing it," in which case that prepositional phrase modifies "difficulty," but I know there is a better answer, and I'm hoping you'll provide it.

Here is the breakdown --

I = subject
had = verb [past tense]
no = adjective modifying [and negating] the noun "difficulty"
difficulty = noun, serving as the direct object of "had"
hearing = present participle, used as an adjective modifying "difficulty" [no hearing difficulty]
it = object of the participle "it"   [Some people call this word an "objective complement."]

To illustrate my parsing, I used an internet program for sentence diagramming.  I am attaching a picture of that diagram.

Good question, Richard!  Thank you.

Ted Nesbitt  

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

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