The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks To Charles Dickens Page
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Verbs as Subjects or Complements
From Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities
Analysis Key

     Two of the three types of verbals can function as subjects or as complements. Gerunds usually end in "-ing"; infinitives are often, but not always, preceded by "to."  (See KISS Level 4.) At this point, the objective should not be to teach students the types of verbals, but rather to make the students comfortable with recognizing verbs that function as either subjects or complements. Note that just like finite verbs, verbals themselves can have subjects or complements.

1. But indeed, {at that time}, putting {to death} was a recipe (PN) much 

     {in vogue} {with all trades and professions}. |

2. The Doctor had ceased to speak (DO). |

3. Then Madame Defarge turned out the contents (DO) {of the bowl} {of 

      money} {for the second time}, and started knotting (DO) them [#1] up

      (in her handkerchief}. |

4. To bring my love [#2]-- even mine [#3] -- {between you}, is to touch (PN)

     your history [#4] {with something} not quite so good [#5] {as itself}. |

5. Your intention is to perpetuate (PN), and not to weaken (PN)

     the ties [#6] {between me and my other and far dearer self}. |

6. Getting things [#7] out {of Paris} {at this present time}, no matter what 

     things [#8], is next (PA) {to an impossibility}. |

7. I quite understand it to be a nice question (DO) [#9]. |

8. The hungry man repeated, {in a rapturous croak}, "Magnificent!" (DO)

     and began gnawing (DO) another finger [#10]. |

9. This was highly degrading (PN) {to the family}, and was ridiculous (PA). |

10. To propose too much [#11], would be to put (PN) this man's head [#12]

     {under the axe}. |

1. "Them" is the direct object of the gerund "knotting."
2. "Love" is the direct object of the infinitive "To bring."
3. "Mine" is an appositive to "love." (See KISS Level 5.4 - Appositives.)
4. "History" is the direct object of the infinitive "To touch."
5. "Good" is a post-positioned adjective to "something." (See KISS Level 5.5 - Post-Positioned Adjectives.)
6. "Ties" is the direct object of the infinitives "to perpetuate" and "to weaken."
7. "Things" is the direct object of the gerund "Getting."
8. This "no matter" phrase is idiomatic--that is, learned as a phrase. Technically, it is an ellipsed noun absolute construction (what things *being* no matter) that functions as an appositive to "things." (See KISS Level 5.8 - Noun Absolutes.)
9. This is an infinitive phrase that functions as the direct object of "understand." "It" is the subject and "question" is a predicate noun to the infinitive "to be." 
10. "Finger" is the direct object of the gerund "gnawing."
11. "Much" is the direct object of the infinitive "To propose."
12. "Head" is the direct object of the infinitive "to put."