The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The KISS Literature Anthology
(Code and Color Key)

Verbs as Objects of Prepositions
from At the Back of the North Wind
by George Macdonald
Simplified by Elizabeth Lewis

       Following two exercises intended to help students see when "to" plus a verb is not a prepositional phrase, this is a throwback to KISS Level 2.1.6 - Distinguishing Finite Verbs from Verbals. In other words, it is, with an emphasis on "to," a reminder that verbs can function as nouns, just as KISS Level 1.2 includes an exercise on verbs that function as subjects and complements. It might seem natural to include this exercise in KISS Level 1.5 -- Basic Prepositional Phrases. But Level 1.5 is already one of the more difficult KISS levels, and verbs are relatively rare as objects of prepositions. Remember that the objective of this exercise is simply for the students to see the prepositional phrases. Verbals themselves are the focus of KISS Level Four.
     You might want to turn this into two exercises, the first five sentences, and then the last five.

Analysis Key

1. They could not get back {to carrying on their business [#1] } {in the right way}. |

2. The little girl was far happier (PA) {in having him [#2] } {with her}. |

3. I've always been used (P) {to watching her}  [#3] . |

4. You were very near then, Diamond [DirA], {to knowing  [DO what [#4]

my other name is] }. |

5. "Oh! oh!" (DO) cried Diamond {after staring [#5] } {for a few moments}. |

6. "What (DO) do you mean, little boy [DirA], {by closing up my window [#6] }?" |

7. I must hurry back {to my crossing} and sweep it (DO) and get money

(DO) to take [#7] home [NuA]. |

8. What was his delight (PN) {on going [#8] } {into the stable}. |

9. He stopped to look {out of a window} {before going [#9] } {to bed}. |

10. Old Diamond just snorted sleepily {in reply} and gave all his 

     attention (DO) {to doubling up his knees and getting [#10] down }

      {upon the floor} to go to sleep [#11]. |


Notes
1. "Business" is the direct object of the verbal (gerund) "carrying," and the verbal phrase is the object of "to."
2.  "Him" is the direct object of the verbal (gerund) "having," and the verbal phrase is the object of "in."
3.  "Her" is the direct object of the verbal (gerund) "watching," and the verbal phrase is the object of "to." Many grammarians consider "used to" to be a helping verb, so alternatively, "to watching" can be considered as part of the finite verb phrase.
4. "What" functions simultaneously as the predicate noun after "is" and as the subordinating conjunction. The clause functions as the direct object of "knowing," which is a verbal (gerund) that functions as the object of "to."
5. The verbal (gerund) "staring" functions as the object of "after."
6.  "Window" is the direct object of the verbal (gerund) "closing," and the verbal phrase is the object of "by." 
7. This sentence was included to let students see that even though the word "crossing" could be a verb, "my" and "sweep it" make it a noun. "Take" is a verb, so "to take" is not a prepositional phrase. (It is a verbal (infinitive) that functions as an adverb to "must hurry," "sweep" and "get," and also as an adjective to "money."
8.  The verbal (gerund) "going" functions as the object of "on."
9. The verbal (infinitive) "to look" functions as an adverb of purpose to "stopped."  The verbal (gerund) "going" functions as the object of "before."
10. "Doubling" and "getting" are verbals (gerunds) that function as the objects of "to." "Knees" is the direct object of "doubling."
11. Most people will probably see "sleep" (the condition -- state of being) and thus as a noun. That makes "to sleep" a prepositional phrase. Others may see it as a verb (which I would not like, but would accept). This view makes "to sleep" a verbal (infinitive of purpose" to "to go." Since "go" is a verb, "to go" is not a prepositional phrase. It is a verbal (infinitive) that functions as an adverb of purpose to "getting down."