The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks About the KISS Joke Collection

Prepositions Can Function as Adverbs

Mama Skunk
Analysis Key

     Mama Skunk was worried (P) [Adv. to "was worried" because she 

could never keep track (DO) {of her two children}]. | They were named (P) 

In (RPN) and Out (RPN) [#1], | and [Adv. to "was" whenever In was in]

Out was out; | and [Adv. to "was" if Out was in], In was out. | One day [NuA]

she called Out (DO) in {to her} and told him (IO) to go out and bring In [#2]

in. | So [#3] Out went out | and {in no time} {at all} he brought In (DO) in. |

     "Wonderful!" (DO) said Mama Skunk. | "How, {in all that great 

forest}, could you find him (DO) {in so short a time}?" |

     [DO [#4] "It was easy (PA),"] said Out. | "In stinct. [#5] " |

1. Technically, these are retained predicate nouns after the passive "were named." [The active voice version would be "She named them *to be* In and Out." For more on this, see KISS Level 5.7 - Passive Voice and Retained Complements.] Here in KISS Level One, however, I would expect students to label them simply as predicate nouns. If they follow the procedure, they should ask, "They were named what?" The answer to that question is "In" and "Out." And because "In" and "Out" are the same as (equal) "They," these complements would be predicate nouns.
2. Expect students to be confused here. "To go" and "bring" are verbals (in this case, infinitives that function as the direct object of "told"). Students will get to distinguishing finite verbs from verbals in KISS Level 2.1.6, so here they are expected to make mistakes. ("In" is the direct object of the verbal "to bring.")
3. Alternatively, "So" can be viewed as a coordinating conjunction. See KISS Level 3.2.2 - "So" and "For" as Conjunctions.
4. KISS Level 3.2.3 - Interjection? Or Direct Object? gives an alternative explanation for this clause structure.
5. The grammatical error here is, of course, essential to the joke.