The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The Theodore Dreiser Page
(Code and Color Key)

From The Lost Phoebe, by Theodore Dreiser
Delayed Subjects - Ex # 1
Analysis Key

1. {In life} it had been a custom (PN) {of hers} to cross this lot [#1] {from her 

kitchen door} {to the pig-pen} to throw in any scrap [#2] [Adj. to "scrap" that was left

(P) {from her cooking} [#3]], | and here she was again. |
 

2. It was a gloomy thing (PN) to come [#4] in {of an evening}, however, or {in the 

afternoon}, and find no shadow [#4] {of Phoebe} [Adv. to "find" where everything

suggested her (DO)]. |
 

3. It was no trouble (PN) {for him} to secure the little food [#5] [Adj. to "food"

that he needed], | and {with a strange, almost religious dignity}, he had no hesitation

(DO) {in asking [#6]} {for that much}. |
 

4. [Adv. to "was" If she wanted a pail (DO) {of water}], it was a grumbling 

pleasure (PN) {for him} to get it [#7]; | and [Adv. to "saw" if she did rise first to 

build the fires [#8] ], he saw [DO that the wood was cut (P) and placed (P) {within 

easy reach}]. |


Notes
1. "Lot" is the direct object of the infinitive "to cross." The infinitive phrase functions as a delayed subject.
2. "Scrap" is the direct object of the infinitive "to throw." The infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "to cross."
3. Grammarians disagree as to whether or not "cooking," as used here, is a gerund. (It doesn't really make much difference.)
4. "To come" and "find" are infinitives that function as delayed subjects. "Shadow" is the direct object of "find."
5. "Food" is the direct object of the infinitive "to secure" which functions as a delayed subject. Note that "him" is the subject of the infinitive, so some students might prefer to mark it as "{for him to secure the little food}."
6. "Asking" is a gerund that functions as the object of the preposition.
7. "It" is the direct object of the infinitive "to get. The infinitive phrase functions as a delayed subject. (See also Note #5.) Note also that the two main clauses are joined by a semicolon plus "and."
8. "Fires" is the direct object of the infinitive "to build" which functions as an adverb to "did rise."