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A Study in Ellipsed Objects of Prepositions
From Pinocchio, The Tale of a Puppet, by C. Collodi
 Analysis Key

Note: In most analysis keys, prepositions with ellipsed objects are simply explained either as phrasal verbs or as adverbs.

1. They thought it better [#1] to stop to give a good look {around *them*} [#2]. |

2. It would be too dreadful (PA) to open a mullet, or a fried whiting, and

     to find {inside *it*} a donkey's tail [#3] ! |

3. Then a horrible Dog-Fish, [Adj. to "Dog-Fish" who was {near *me*}], came {towards me}. |

4. But Pinocchio caught the assassin's hand (DO) {with his teeth}, and

     {with one bite} bit it (DO) clear {off *his hand*} and spat it (DO) {out

     *of his mouth*}. |

5. He was, {in fact} [#4], a little donkey (PN) to fall [#5] {in love} {with 

     *such a little donkey*} ! |

     The ellipsed object of the second "in" is "his mouth." (Some people may prefer to see the "in" as an ellipsed version of "into."

FYI Full Analysis Key

     Only to think [#6] {of poor Pinocchio's terror} {at the sight} {of the monster}. | He tried to avoid it [#7], to change his direction [#8]; | he tried to escape [#9], | but that immense, wide-open mouth came {towards him} {with the velocity} {of an arrow}. |

     [DO [#10] "*You* Be quick (PA), Pinocchio [DirA], {for pity's sake!}"] cried the beautiful little goat, bleating [#11]. |

     And Pinocchio swam desperately {with his arms, his chest, his legs, and his feet}. |

     "*You be* Quick (PA), Pinocchio [DirA], | the monster is close {upon you}!" |

     And Pinocchio swam quicker than ever [#12], and flew on {with the rapidity} {of a ball} {from a gun}. | He had nearly reached the rock (DO), | and the little goat, leaning [#13] {over *the rock*} {towards the sea}, had stretched out her fore-legs (DO) to help him [#14] {out of the water}! |

     But it was too late! | The monster had overtaken him (DO) | and, drawing  {in*to his lungs*) his breath [#15], he sucked {in*to his mouth*} the poor puppet (DO) [Adv. to "sucked" as he would have sucked a hen's egg (DO)]. |

1. At this KISS Level, expect students to be confused by the object of "thought." Some will see "it" as the direct object; others will sense that "it better" better captures the meaningful answer to "thought what?" They are right, but they can't be expected to explain it here. KISS views "it better" as an ellipsed infinitive construction -- "it *to be* better." Infinitives are the focus of KISS Level Four.
2. At this level, students should realize that "to stop" and "to give" are not prepositional phrases. As long as they get that right, they deserve praise. "Look" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to give." [The following phrase is adjectival because "look" here functions as a noun.] "To give" functions as an adverb (of purpose) to the verbal (infinitive) "to stop." "To stop" is a delayed subject to "it" in "it better." [They thought to stop . . . better.] See KISS Level 5.6 - Delayed Subjects and Sentences.
3. "Mullet" and "whiting" are direct objects of the verbal (infinitive) "to open." "Tail" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to find." The two infinitives function as Delayed Subjects to "would be."
4. Some people will consider "in fact" an adverb, whereas others see it as an interjection.
5. The verbal (infinitive) "to fall" functions as an adjective to "donkey."
6. The "to" makes this a fragment, but readers understand this as meaning "think of."
7. "It" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to avoid." The infinitive phrase is the direct object of "tried."
8. "Direction" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to change." Because there is no "and" between the two infinitive phrases, and because the second further defines the first, the second phrase functions as an appositive to the first. See KISS Level 5.4 - Appositives.
9. The verbal (infinitive) phrase "to escape" is the direct object of "tried."
10. For an alternative explanation of the clause structure here, see KISS Level 3.2.3 - Interjection? Or Direct Object?
11. "Bleating" is a verbal (gerundive) that modifies "goat."
12. "Than ever" is an ellipsed adverbial subordinate clause -- "than *he had* ever *swam*."
13. "Leaning" is a verbal (gerundive) that modifies "goat."
14. "Him" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to help." The infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "had stretched."
15. "Breath" is the direct object of the verbal (gerundive) "drawing." The gerundive phrase functions as an adjective to the following "he."