The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks To Charles Dickens Page
(Code and Color Key)

The Functions of Prepositional Phrases
From Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities
Analysis Key

1. All the human breath {in the place} [Adj. to "breath"], rolled {at him} [Adv. 

     (space) to "rolled"], {like a sea, or a wind, or a fire} [Adv. (manner) to "rolled"]. |

2. Then, {among the advancing echoes} [Adv. (place) to "was"], there [#1] was 

     the tread (PN) {of her tiny feet} [Adj. to "tread"] and [#2] the sound (PN) 

     {of her prattling words}  [Adj. to "sound"]. |

3. Mr. Barsad, now {in the employ} [Adv. (place/condition) to "now"] {of the

      republican French government}  [Adj. to "employ"], was formerly {in the employ}

      [Adv. (place/condition) to "formerly"] {of the aristocratic English government}  

     [Adj. to "employ"], the enemy [#3] {of France and freedom} [Adj. to "enemy"]. |

4. The Court, {from that exclusive inner circle} [Adj. to "Court"] {to its outermost

      rotten ring} [Adj. to "Court"] {of intrigue, corruption, and dissimulation} [Adj. to

      "ring"], was all gone together. |

5. {In the course} [Adv. (time) to "made"] {of an evening} [Adj. to "course"] 

     passed [#4] {with Miss Pross, the Doctor, and Mr. Lorry} [Adv. (condition) to

      "passed"] [#5], Charles Darnay made some mention (DO) {of this 

      conversation}  [Adj. to "mention"] {in general terms} [Adv. (manner) to "made"],

     and spoke {of Sydney Carton} [Adv. (manner?) to "spoke"] [#6] {as a problem}

     [Adv. (manner) to "spoke"] {of carelessness and recklessness} [Adj. to "problem"]. |

6. {With those words, and a final snap} [Adv. (manner) to "shouldered"] {of his fingers} 

      [Adj. to "snap"], Mr. Stryver shouldered himself (DO) {into Fleet-street} 

      [Adv. (place) to "shouldered"], {amidst the general approbation} [Adv. (condition) 

      to "shouldered"] {of his hearers} [Adj. to "approbation"] . |

7. I was walking {on a retired part} [Adv. (place) to "was walking"] {of the quay} 

      [Adj. to "part"] {by the Seine} [Adj. to "part"] [#7] {for the refreshment} [Adv. 

      (purpose) to "was walking"] {of the frosty air} [Adj. to "refreshment"], {at an

      hour's distance} [Adv. (place) to "was walking"] {from my place} [Adj. to "distance"]

     {of residence} [Adj. to "place"] {in the Street} [Adj. to "place" and "residence"]

     {of the School} [Adj. to "Street"] {of Medicine}  [Adj. to "School"]. |

8. Never did the sun go down {with a brighter glory} [Adv. (manner) to "did go"] 

     {on the quiet corner} [Adv. (place) to "did go"] {in Soho} [Adj. to "corner"]

     than one memorable evening [#8] [Adj. to "evening" when the Doctor and his 

     daughter sat {under the plane-tree} [Adv. (place) to "sat"] together]. |

1. For alternative explanations of this "There," see KISS Level 2.1.3 - Expletives (Optional).
2. There is a subject/verb agreement error here -- it should be "There were the tread . . . and the sound . . . ." I note this to point out that major, well-established writers make such "mistakes," so we need to be careful not to be overzealous in "catching students" for such errors.
3. "Enemy" is an appositive to "English government." See KISS Level 5.4 - Appositives.
4. "Passed" is a verbal (gerundive) that modifies "evening." See  KISS Level 4.
5.  Note the importance of "and" before "Mr. Lorry." It signals that "Mr. Lorry" is the last item in the prepositional phrase, thereby leaving "Charles Darnay" free to be a subject.
6. "Of Sydney Carton" is clearly adverbial because it modifies "spoke," but it does not really fit the logical categories of adverbial modifiers. "Spoke of" is meaningfully equivalent to "discussed," so although the phrase modifies a verb, the phrase is more one of identity.
7. "By the Seine" can also be explained as an adverb to "was walking." The important point is that the phrase chunks to another word or construction within its sentence.
8. This "than" can be explained in two ways. The easiest is to see it as a preposition, which would make "than one memorable evening" a prepositional phrase. The other is to view it as a subordinating conjunction in an ellipsed clause -- "than *the sun went down* one memorable evening." This would make "evening" a Noun Used as an Adverb. {See KISS Level 2.3.] In either case, the "than" construction is an adverb of comparison to "Never."