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(Code and Color Key)

Delayed Subjects
From  My Book of Favorite Fairy Tales
Analysis Key

 
Note that most delayed subjects can be moved forward in the sentence where they can replace the placebo "it." For example, "To steal is a sin."

1. "Don't you know [DO it's a sin (PN) to steal [#1] ?"] [ [#2] roared the Beast]. |
 

2. It was Suliman (PN) [Delayed Subject who had helped Zélie to escape [#2] ]. |
 

3. What good (DO) would it do {to him} to be handsome, rich, or powerful [#4]

[Adv. to "would do" if he were [#5] wicked (PA) ]? |
 

4. It seems {to me} [Delayed Sentence [#6] that a clever, faithful dog would be

very good company (PN) ]. |
 

5. Dear me [Inj] , it was shocking (PA), the way [#7] [Adj. to "way" those two

sisters grumbled]. |


Notes
1. The infinitive "to steal" functions as a delayed subject.
2. For an explanation that considers "roared" the verb in the main clause, see KISS Level 3.2.3 - Interjection? Or Direct Object?
3. "Zélie" is simultaneously the indirect object of "helped" and the subject of the infinitive "to escape." The infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of "helped."
4. "Handsome," "rich" and "powerful" are predicate adjectives after the infinitive "to be." The infinitive phrase functions as a delayed subject.
5. "Were" is in the subjunctive mood. See KISS Level 2.1.7 - The KISS Perspective on the Subjunctive Mood.
6. I have labeled this a delayed sentence because it would be very unusual for anyone to write or say "That a clever, faithful dog would be very good company." The clause, however, still functions as a delayed subject because if we ask "What seems?" the answer is in the clause. I would be perfectly happy if students simply label this clause as a delayed subject.
7. Here we have a relatively rare case of a noun phrase that functions as a delayed subject.