The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The Theodore Dreiser Page
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From The Lost Phoebe, by Theodore Dreiser
Delayed Subjects - Ex # 3
Analysis Key

1. It was suggested (P) {to him} {at once} {by one friend and another} [Del. Subj. that

he come to stay [#1] {with them} awhile], but he did not see fit [#2]. |

2. I think [DO it's more'n likely [#3] [Del. Subj. she's {over to Swinnerton} {with

some} {o' her friends}]]. |

3. It had never been a part (PN) {of his wife's creed} [Del. Subj. that she could

have a spirit (DO) [Adj. to "spirit" that could return to walk the earth [#4]]]. |

4. What (PN) was it [ [#5] that moved {in the distant shadows} {along the path} [Adj.

to "path" {by which} he had entered] a pale, flickering will-o'-the-wisp [#6] [Adj. 

to "will-o'-the-wisp" that bobbed gracefully {among the trees} and riveted his expectant

gaze (DO)]? |

1. "To stay" is an infinitive that functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "come." Alternatively, "come to stay" can be considered the finite verb phrase. It means, after all, "come and stay."
2. I would explain "fit" as a predicate adjective after an ellipsed infinitive (with a subject) --"see *it to be* fit." The infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of "see." This, however, is probably too technical an explanation. "See fit" is almost certainly learned as a vocabulary phrase and is thus idiomatic. From this perspective, "fit" can be considered part of the finite verb.
3. In "more'n likely" we once again have an idiomatic phrase that can be explained in several ways. Perhaps the best technical explanation would be to consider it as an ellipsed construction--"it is more *certain tha*n *it is* likely that...." In this perspective, the ellipsed "it is" creates a "than" clause that modifies "more" which functions as an adverb to the ellipsed "certain," which functions as a predicate adjective. Note, by the way, how easy it is to get caught up in technical explanations of phrases with which students have no practical problems, and how these technical explanations are often off the focus of instruction-- in this case, delayed subjects. Thus, in this case, I would accept "more'n" as an adverb to "likely" which functions as a predicate adjective to the stated "it's."
4. "Earth" is the direct object of the infinitive "to walk." The infinitive functions as an adverb to "could return." Whether it is an adverb of purpose, or an adverb of result is an interesting philosophical question about which people will disagree.
5. Grammarians will almost certainly disagree (among themselves, and not just with me) about this one. I would consider this a delayed subject, but I would not disagree with those who wanted to consider it to be an adjective to "it." Note also that this is very close to a "delayed sentence," the focus of the next exercise.
6. "Will-o'-the-wisp" is an appositive to "it." In one sense, it makes this a rhetorical question--a question that includes its own answer. Within the story, however, it raises another question--"Was it Phoebe?"