The KISS Grammar Workbooks Back to April Menu
(Code and Color Key)

Finite Verb or Verbal? -- The Sentence Test (Ex # 3)
from Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children, by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall

Analysis Key

1. On and on he went, plunging deeper and deeper {under the shadow} {of the trees}. |

"He plunging" will not make an acceptable sentence. Thus "plunging" is a verbal (a gerundive that modifies "he").
2. Then several page boys, dressed {in green}, came {with large silver basins}

full [PPA] {of clean, fresh water}. |

"The boys dressed in green" is an acceptable sentence, but the comma disconnects the subject from the verb, and thus "dressed" here means "who were dressed." It is thus a verbal (a gerundive that modifies "boys"). Note that without the comma after "boys," we would read "dressed" as an active, finite verb, then read "came," and then expect a series of finite verbs until we reached an "and" that closed the series -- The boys dressed in green, came with large silver basins full of clean, fresh water, and washed everyone's hands.
3. Then turning {to the stranger}, Robin bowed politely {to him}. |
"Robin turning" will not make an acceptable sentence. Thus "turning" is a verbal (a gerundive that modifies "Robin").
4. Then came fat and jolly Friar Tuck carrying his big book and trying to look grave. |
"Friar Tuck carrying his big book and trying to look grave" is not an acceptable sentence. Therefore "carrying," "trying," and "to look" are all verbals. ("Book" is the direct object of the gerundive "carrying," which modifies "Friar Tuck." "Grave" is a predicate adjective after the infinitive "to look." The infinitive is the direct object of the gerundive "trying" which modifies "Friar Tuck."
5. The men were all gathered (P) together talking it over, and already preparing

their bows and arrows. |

First of all, note how close this is to a simple, three-part compound finite verb. Indeed, if there were a comma after "together," that is how I would explain the sentence. (As it is, I would not say that anyone who explained it that way is wrong. See "Sliding Constructions.") Without that comma, I read "talking" as a gerundive that modifies "men" and has "it" as its direct object. Having processed "talking" as a gerundive, I then see the "and" as joining "talking" and "preparing," which means that "preparing" functions in the same way that "talking" does. "Bows" and "arrows" are direct objects of "preparing."


6. Every man sprang {to his feet}, and shouting, [DO of "shouting" "God save the

King (DO),"] drank his health (IO). |

"Every man shouting" will not make an acceptable sentence. Thus "shouting" is a verbal (a gerundive to "man"). Note, by the way, the complexity of this sentence -- it has a gerundive with a clause as its direct object between the two parts of a compound verb. I doubt that you will find such a sentence fully analyzed in most grammar textbooks. [In KISS Level Four, we might further note how the ", and" shifts the adverbial function of the gerundive to modify "drank." Compare it to -- "Every man sprang to his feet shouting "God save the King," and drank his health." In the original, the men spring, and then simultaneously shout and drink; in the revised version, they spring and shout simultaneously, and then drink.]
7. She was quite sorry (PA) [Adv. to "was" when the Sheriff came and took

him (DO) away, saying [DO of "saying" dinner was ready (PA) ]]. |

"The Sheriff saying...." will not make an acceptable sentence, so "saying" is a verbal (a gerundive to "Sheriff").
8. It was wide (PA) and deep (PA), swollen {by the winter rains}. |
"It swollen" will not make an acceptable sentence, so "swollen" is a verbal (a gerundive to "It"). Note the difference -- "It was wide (PA), deep (PA), and swollen (PA) by the winter rains." In the original, the "and" before "deep" signals the end of the predicate adjectives, leaving "swollen" to be processed as a verbal.
9. This morning [NuA] everything was so bright (PA) and beautiful (PA)

[Adv. to "so" that he went on and on, hearing nothing {but the song} {of birds},

seeing nothing {but the trees and flowers}]. |

"He hearing nothing" and "He seeing nothing" do not make acceptable sentences. Thus "hearing" and "seeing" are verbals (gerundives to "he"). In both cases, "nothing" is the direct object.
10. Then he heard his name (DO) whispered, and, opening his eyes, saw 

Marian (DO), looking {like a fairy princess}. |

If we ask "Who or what whispered?" here, the closest answer is "name," but it means that the name was whispered, so "whispered" is a verbal. [It is a gerundive that modifies "name"; at KISS Level Five, some students may prefer to explain "name whispered" as a noun absolute that functions as the direct object of "heard."]
     Since "he opening his eyes" is not an acceptable sentence, "opening" is a verbal (a gerundive that modifies "he"). "Eyes" is the direct object of "opening."
     Since "Marian looking like a fairy princess" is not an acceptable sentence, "looking" is a verbal (a gerundive that modifies "Marian").