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

The Opening Paragraph of 
Persuasion, by  Jane Austen
Analysis Key

     Sir Walter Elliot, {of Kellynch Hall}, {in Somersetshire}, was a man (PN) 

[Adj. to "man" who, {for his own amusement}, never took up any book (DO) {but 

the Baronetage}]; | there he found occupation (DO) {for an idle hour}, and

consolation (DO) {in a distressed one}; | there his faculties were roused (P) {into 

admiration and respect}, {by contemplating the limited remnant [#1] } {of the 

earliest patents}; | there any unwelcome sensations, arising [#2] {from domestic affairs}

changed naturally {into pity and contempt} [Adv. to "changed" as he turned over the

almost endless creations (DO) {of the last century}]; | and there, [Adv. to "could read" if 

every other leaf were [#3] powerless (PA)], he could read his own history (DO) 

{with an interest} [Adj. to "interest"  which never failed]. | This was the page (PN) [Adj.

to "page" {at which} the favorite volume always opened]: |


"Walter Elliot [#5], born March 1, 1760 [NuA] [#6], married [#7], July 15, 1784 [NuA]

{*to* Elizabeth}, daughter [#8] {of James Stevenson}, Esq. [#9] {of South Park}, {in the 

county} {of Gloucester}, [Adj. to "Elizabeth" {by which lady} [ [#10]  (who died 1800 [NuA]) ]

he has issue (DO) Elizabeth [#11] , born [#12] June 1, 1785 [NuA]; Anne [#11], born [#12] 

August 9, 1787 [NuA]; a still-born son [#11], November 5, 1789 [NuA]; Mary [#11], born [#12] 

November 20, 1791 [NuA]."] |

1. "Remnant" is the direct object of "contemplating," which is a gerund that functions as the object of the preposition "by."
2. "Arising" is a gerundive to "sensations."
3. This verb is in the subjunctive mood.
4. This is, of course, a title. Note, however, that this plus the rest of this selection can be seen as an appositive to "page." See "Language as a Stream of Meaning." This makes the determination of main clause breaks very tenuous here.
5. This is technically not a subject, but it is the subject of the obituary. Thus we can assume the verb "died." Note that we could also explain "married" as the finite verb, but most readers will probably process "married" as a gerundive, parallel to "born." Note too that if we consider "married" as the verb, "Elizabeth" would be its direct object. From a syntactical perspective, perhaps the most interesting aspect of this obituary is how what could be expressed in much longer sentences is compressed into gerundives and appositives.
6. Although these dates can all be explained as nouns used as adverbs, it might be interesting, in the context of this exercise, to note that they can also be explained as a series of ellipsed prepositional phrases -- "on the first of March in 1760."
7. "Married" is a gerundive to "Walter Elliot."
8. "Daughter" ia an appositive to "Elizabeth."
9. "Esquire" is a title, but the titles of people can be considered appositives.
10.  This clause can be explained as an adjective to "lady," but because it is in parentheses, it can also be considered
 parenthetical, or, in KISS terms, an interjection. 
11. Appositives to "issue."
12. Gerundive to the preceding name.