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Prepositional Phrases (Ex # 2): from
Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children
by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall

 

Analysis Key

1. Then Robin mounted his pony (DO) | and off he went {to Nottingham} to sell

his meat [#1] {at the market}. |

 

2. He hoped either [#2] to kill Robin or to take him prisoner [#2], and bring him [#3]

{to Nottingham} to have him hanged [#4] there. |
 

3. I must go back {to the forest} to warn Robin [#5] as quickly as possible [#6]. |
 

4. Then he sent messengers (DO) {to the towns and villages} round [#7] to tell all the archers [#8] {about it}. |
 

5. David often used to disguise himself (DO) and go {to Nottingham} to see his sister [#9]. |
 

6. I advise you (IO) then to write a letter [#10] {to the Sheriff}. |
 

7. She went back {to her own home} {with her father}, to prepare [#11] {for the wedding}

[Adj. to "wedding" which was to be [#12] {in a few days}]. |
 

8. [Adv. to "had to pay" If you wanted to send a letter [#13] {to anyone}], you had

to pay a special messenger (DO) to carry it [#14] {for you}. |


Notes
1. "Meat" is the direct object of the infinitive "to sell"; the infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "went."
2. "Prisoner" is a predicate noun to the ellipsed infinitive "to be" -- "to take him *to be* prisoner." "Him" is thus the subject of the ellipsed infinitive, and this infinitive phrase is the direct object of the  infinitive "to take."  [Alternatively, see "objective complement."] The infinitives "to kill" and "to take" function as the direct objects of "hoped." ("Robin" is the direct object of "to kill.")
3. "Him" is the direct object of the infinitive "bring" which functions as another direct object of "hoped." 
4. The best explanation for "hanged" is probably to consider it the remnant of a partially ellipsed infinitive -- "*to be* hanged." (One could also consider it to be a gerundive that functions as a predicate adjective to the ellipsed "to be.") "Him" is the subject of the ellipsed infinitive, and this infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of the infinitive "to have" which functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "bring."
5. "Robin" is the direct object of the infinitive "to warn" which functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "must go."
6. This is a relatively common construction that involves ellipsis -- as quickly as *it is* possible *to do so*." In this expanded form, "so" is the direct object of the infinitive "to do." That infinitive functions as the delayed subject to the preceding "it," which is the subject of "is." "Possible" is thus a predicate adjective after the "is." The second "as" functions as a subordinating conjunction, and thus the "as *it is* possible *to do so*" clause functions as an adverb to the preceding "as" which is an adverb to "quickly."
7. The easiest way to explain "round" is as an adverb, but if students should ask, note that it means "around" and can be
 considered as a preposition with its object ellipsed -- it clearly means "around the area," or around where he was. As a
 prepositional phrase, it functions as an adjective to "towns and villages," but we can see its adverbial function if we take it
 toward the level of what linguists call "kernel sentences" -- the very short sentences from which longer sentences are
 constructed. At this level, the "around" is in an almost totally ellipsed subordinate clause -- to the towns and villages that were  around the area." The subordinate clause now functions as an adjective to "towns and villages," and within that clause the  "around" phrase functions as an adverb to "were." (At the kernel level, the sentence would be "... to the towns and villages.  The towns and villages were around the area.") Note that since the objective of this exercise is to help students determine  when "to" functions as a preposition and when it does not, this lengthy explanation would probably be too distracting. 
8. "Archers" is the direct object of the infinitive "to tell" which functions as an adverb to "sent."
9.  "Sister" is the direct object of the infinitive "to see" which functions as an adverb to "go."
10. "Letter" is the direct object of the infinitive "to write." The function of the infinitive can be explained in two ways -- a) it is the direct object of "advise," in which case "you" is simultaneously the indirect object of "advise" and the subject of the infinitive. Some people, however, may see it differently, so -- b) "you" is the direct object of "advise" and the infinitive functions as an adverb to "advise," answering the question "How?" rather than "What?"
11. The infinitive "to prepare" functions as an adverb of purpose to "went."
12. Grammarians would have a grand time discussing this "was to be," but I do not remember ever seeing the construction discussed in a grammar textbook. Here again one could get into a very detailed explanation involving ellipsis ("was *expected/scheduled* to be") and other advanced constructions. If the students do not include the "to be" as part of the finite verb, I would simply ignore it -- as long as they do not mark it as a prepositional phrase -- "be" is a verb.
13. "Letter" is the direct object of the infinitive "to send"; the infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of "wanted."
14. "It" is the direct object of the infinitive "to carry." The infinitive functions as an adverb of purpose to "had to pay."