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KISS Grammar
Level 6.5 Statistical Stylistics and Advanced Analytical Questions

    Statistical Analysis Projects
Summary Table of Statistics
Analyzing My Own Writing
"Warm-up" Exercises for Analyzing Students' Writing
Samples of Students' Writing for Statistical Analysis
Some Suggestions about Graphing and Statistics
The "Chicken" and the "Aluminum" Studies
In the Bull Pen
Advanced Analytical Questions
An Essay on Statistical Exercises and KISS Grammar
Visit "Cobweb Corner"

A green background in the right column indicates that the exercise is in the printable version.


   Although some readers may already be familiar with it, it may be best to start this book with the essay on this topic in the Background Essays:

An Essay on Statistical Exercises and KISS Grammar


     Victor Shklovsky, a famous Russian literary critic, claimed that the purpose of literature is to make life strange. We see the world around us so often that we fail to notice what we see. Similarly, KISS statistical studies make sentence structure strange. Statistical analysis slows us down -- it forces us to look at various aspects of sentences in ways that we otherwise would not. How many words are in the average written sentence? When is a sentence too long? Too short? What makes adults' sentences longer and more sophisticated than those of fourth graders? If students do several statistical analyses of their own writing and compare their results with those of their classmates, they can see for themselves that their sentences are short -- or long -- or, as Goldilocks preferred, "just right."
     Can third and fourth graders, for example, do a statistical analysis? This is an essential question. Within the KISS framework, there are so many possibilities that the specific answer will depend on the interests and skill of the teachers or parents. Suggestions are offered below in "Some Suggestions about Graphing and Statistics." The other primary practical question is, How are statistical exercises used in KISS Grammar?

     Note that the process of statistical analysis may be more important than the numerical results. This is especially true if students work in small groups to check their analyses of their own writing. During such small group work I have occasionally had students come up to me and say "I can't find -- my group can't find -- any subordinate clauses in my writing." There were none. Most of the students in the class, of course, did have lots of subordinate clauses in their writing. This student, therefore, clearly discovered on his own that his writing was somewhat lacking. He was much more motivated to learn how to analyze sentences -- and to do some sentence-combining exercises on subordinate clauses.
     At the other end, I have been asked, "Can a subordinate clause be in a subordinate clause that is in a subordinate clause that is in a subordinate clause?" The answer to that question is "Yes," but professional writers rarely embed clauses that deeply because such  deep embedding makes sentences more difficult to understand. In this case, the student became interested in the de-combining exercises.
     The process may be more important than the results, but my students are interested in the norms. To give students a context for their results, you can use the data in KISS's "Cobweb Corner." As some people are aware, however, statistical studies can be very suspect. Sample size, sample selection, what is being counted, how, and how it is being reported are all complex questions. In "Cobweb Corner," you will find several studies done within the KISS framework, but you will also find references to, and data from, several major studies done in the 1960's and 70's on the natural syntactic development of school children. (The dates suggest why "Cobweb Corner" is so named. In those two decades, statistical analysis was widely discussed; since then, it has been largely ignored.) When one steps back and looks at the overall picture, these studies show definite trends in such things as words per main clause, the frequency with which subordinate clauses are used, the use of appositives, etc.
     For more on the history and purpose of statistical stylistics, see the "Essay on Statistical Exercises and KISS Grammar."  Most importantly, don't become obsessive about the results. Enjoy watching the students learn for themselves that their sentences are too short, too long, or "just right." Ultimately, after all, the length (or shortness) of their sentences should be their decision. Our job is to give them tools that they can use to see their writing in the context of the world in which they live.
Statistical Analysis Projects

     The possibilities for statistical analysis of texts are endless, so the projects described below cover only the basics.
Analyzing My Own Writing
 See the Teachers' Notes (TN) for explanations and suggestions.

     The first project (for KISS Levels 1 and 2) focuses on words per sentence, words in prepositional phrases, and words that students cannot yet analyze.

Directions for all Level 1 and 2 Assignments
The objectives of this project are:
1.) to have students focus on sentences as opposed to fragments. 
2.) to let students compare the average length of their own sentences to those of their peers.
3.) to enable students to see how prepositional phrases add to the length of sentences (especially in comparison to the writing of their peers).
4.) to show students how much of their own writing they can already explain (by counting the number of words that they cannot explain as a percentage of the total words in the passage).
You will probably have to help young students work their way, step by step, through the directions. For the sake of simplicity, the directions do not include an analysis of compounds, but you can add that by, for example, having the students count the number of finite verb phrases and the number of those phrases that are second, third, etc. elements in the same S/V/C pattern. For example, in
Sally saw her brother, called him, and then ran after him.
there are three finite verbs, but only the last two ("called" and "ran") would be counted as compounds. To get the number that corresponds to that in the "Summary Table  of Statistics," the number of compounds is divided by the total number of finite verbs.

     The second project is for KISS Levels 3 and up. It calculates words per main clause and subordinate clauses per main clause. These are the primary "yardsticks" that the researchers in the 1970's used to measure "syntactic maturity." Remember that the primary objective is to enable students to see how their own writing compares to that of their peers. Remind the students that "long" is not the main objective. Main clauses that are far above average cause problems for readers; main clauses that are well below average sound childish.
For KISS Levels 1 and 2 TN ToC IG3
For KISS Level 3 and up TN ToC 1YM; IG 4 - 12
"Warm-up" Exercises for Analyzing Students' Writing
    Every "Practice/Application" exercises includes space for two samples of the writing of students at a specific grade level. Just before these exercises, students are given one of the following "Warm-up" exercises to go over the method of analysis.


Level 1 - "Practice with Statistical Analysis"
Directions for all Level 1 and 2 Assignments
The Opening Paragraph of "The Sleeping Beauty" AK Text ToC -
"The Poplar Tree," by Flora J. Cooke AK Text ToC -
Level 2 - "Practice with Statistical Analysis"
Directions for all Level 1 and 2 Assignments
"The Little Match Girl" (Version by E. Louise Smith) Text AK ToC -
Level 3.1 - "Practice with Statistical Analysis"
Directions for all Level 3.1, 3.2, and 4 Assignments
Statistical Stylistics - "Squeaky and the Scare Box" (#1) Text AK ToC -
Statistical Stylistics - "Squeaky and the Scare Box" (#2) " AK " "
"The Twelve Months" by Alexander Chodzko  Text AK ToC -
Level 3.2 - "Practice with Statistical Analysis"
Directions for all Level 3.1, 3.2, and 4 Assignments
"The Spring Beauty : An Ojibbeway Legend" Text AK ToC -
Level 4 - "Practice with Statistical Analysis"
Directions for all Level 3.1, 3.2, and 4 Assignments
Samples of Students' Writing for Statistical Analysis
     Every "Practice/Application" section has spaces for a set of five exercises for the analysis of the writing of students at specific grade levels. Two of these exercises are devoted to editing the writing of their peers. (These are indexed in KISS Level 6.1) In two of the exercises (indexed here), students are asked to do a statistical analysis of the writing of their peers. The fifth exercise asks students to write their own responses to the prompt and then to analyze their writing in the same way that they analyzed that of their peers.
     Note that the statistical summaries listed below are from the averaging of all the samples in a set, not just those used as for exercises within the "Complete" books.
The Writing of Third Graders
See also Grade 3, Statistical Stylistics
Average words per main clause = 6.0
Average subordinate clauses per main clause = .13
As of now, this study includes only the five samples from the 2001 Student Guide for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards. The details for these statistics are in "Cobweb Corner." 
The prompt for these samples is:
     Most people have at least one thing that means a lot to them. Think of something you have that you would like to keep forever. Tell about it so that your readers can picture it in their minds and understand why it is special.
A Graph Format
"My Porcelain Doll," by a Third Grade Writer (S01) AK ToC -
"My Kitten," by a Third Grade Writer (S02) AK ToC G3
"Gorilla Alien," by a Third Grade Writer (S03) AK ToC G3
"My Friend," by a Third Grade Writer (S04) AK ToC -
The Writing of Fourth Graders
The 2004 North Carolina Writing 
Assessment Trainer Manual
Writing Prompt
A Graph Format
See also Grade 4, Statistical Stylistics
Average words per main clause = 9.9
Average subordinate clauses per main clause = .50
From what I have seen, these numbers seem high. For more on this, see the Summary of Statistics in "Cobweb Corner."
"A Trip to Colorado," by a Fourth Grade Writer (G05) AK ToC G4
"Cooking Pancakes," by a Fourth Grade Writer (TA-02) AK ToC G4

"My New Motor Scooter," by a Fourth Grade Writer (G2) AK ToC G4
"The Roller Coaster," by a Fourth Grade Writer (G11) AK ToC G4

"Pizza Casserole," by a 4th Grade Writer (G03) AK ToC G4
"Steamed Oysters," by a 4th grade Writer  (G10) AK ToC G4
The Writing of Fifth Graders
See also Grade 5, Statistical Stylistics
Average words per main clause = 9.0
Average subordinate clauses per main clause = .30
As of now, this study includes only the four samples in the 2001 Student Guide for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards. The details for these statistics are in "Cobweb Corner." 
The Writing of Sixth Graders
See also Grade 6, Statistical Stylistics
     Some years ago I analyzed a set of twenty nine samples of sixth graders' writing. They need to be analyzed statistically and reorganized for the new format.
See the Summary of Statistics in "Cobweb Corner."
The Writing of Seventh Graders
See also Grade 7, Statistical Stylistics
     In 1986,  I analyzed a set of thirty-one samples written by seventh graders. This study includes an essay on "Fragments, Comma-splices and Run-ons in Seventh Graders' Writing." The samples for this study are from complete classes in a public school. (Such samples are now very difficult to get.) I may use these samples in the seventh grade "complete" books, but that is a decision to be made in the future. Currently, of course, you and your students can use the texts for analysis.
The Writing of Eighth Graders
See also Grade 8, Statistical Stylistics
Average words per main clause = 11.3
Average subordinate clauses per main clause = .54
As of now, this study includes only the four samples in the 2001 Student Guide for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards. The details for these statistics are in "Cobweb Corner." 
The Writing of Ninth Graders
See also Grade 9, Statistical Stylistics
     Jessica Farmer, a member of the KISS List, has been transcribing a set of essays written by ninth graders. It will, however, take me some time before I can get them all analyzed and put in the workbooks.
Some Suggestions about Graphing and Statistics:
The "How" and the "What"

How? Graphs or Stats?

     In 1965, Kellogg Hunt published Grammatical Structures Written at Three Grade Levels. The study is foundational in that it demonstrated that words per main clause can be used as a fundamental yardstick of syntactic maturity. Roughly speaking, the older someone is, the more words they will use, on average, in written main clauses (distinct from "sentence"). His results, like the results of most professional research, were reported with occasional graphs, but mainly with statistics.
     Even some college students have trouble calculating statistical averages, but third graders can make and understand graphs. As examples, KISS currently has two graph formats:

 Graph W/MC (Version 1)  Graph W/MC (Version 2)
As early as third grade students can use the graph to illustrate words per sentence. Use one column (or row) for each sentence, and fill in one block in that column for each word in the sentence. The graph will represent the length (and the variety in the length) of the sentences in the analyzed passage.
     At a much more complex level, students could color code the graphs for the types or functions of the words in the sentences:
light blue = adverbs 
blue = finite verbs 
light green = adjectives 
green = subjects 
brown = complements
pink = words in prepositional phrases 
red = conjunctions 
purple = Nouns Used as Adverbs, Interjections, or Direct Address 
gray = words that the students are not expected to be able to explain 
diagonal green/blue cells = contractions, such as "I'll"
The color codes emphasize how much of the text students can already explain. You may find, however, that they also help students note the differences in the grammatical structures that students use—or do not use.
     You should, of course, modify the directions and format of graphs to suit the needs of your students. As I have stated elsewhere in KISS materials, "The study of grammar is a science." And analyzing real data is the essence of science. Thus these graphs can introduce students to the scientific method. But "The teaching of grammar is an art." Teachers need to adjust the graphing method to the abilities and time-constraints of their students. For example, you might want to have students color-code just the prepositional phrases. Such a graph will show them how much of a sentence is composed of such phrases, and where they are located. This may seem like an extremely simplistic graph, but when you look closely at the writing of some students, you will find very few prepositional phrases.
     A graph of a single passage may be interesting, but it becomes much more meaningful when placed in context. The KISS graphs of analyzed passages may give some context, but here again the best context is graphs of the writing of their peers. Another approach would be to have each student graph the length and prepositional phrases in the first ten sentences of different texts (or of chapters of the same text). They could then share their graphs and discuss the differences in sentence length and in the frequency and placement of prepositional phrases.
    Unfortunately, we educators often miss opportunities to develop skills over multiple years of education. For example, almost all primary school students learn how to make graphs. Thereafter, graphing is basically forgotten. KISS graphs, however, have a purpose and can be used as frequently as one wishes. Suppose that third graders make three graphs a year -- two on the writing for the KISS statistical stylistics passages, and one of their own writing. In fourth grade (and every grade thereafter), they would already understand the basic methods and purposes of the graphs. Doing them would be easier and faster, and, if they kept the graphs on their own writing from previous years, they could compare the graph of this year's work to those. (Mother Nature promises that, if nothing else, the sentences will generally become longer.)

     As noted above, the most meaningful statistics are probably words per main clause. Although this can be demonstrated on graphs, the numbers are what are most important here. KISS, of course, does not introduce clauses until Level Three. Before that time, graphs (and any statistical calculations) need to be based on words per sentence. Once students can identify clauses, graphs may become more time-consuming than they are worth. The following ambitious worksheet was developed for a project on analyzing the opening sentences of the nine chapters of Henrietta Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Told to Children:

A Sample Worksheet

This brings us to the question of what to look at and count. 

Some Notes on What to Look At

     Once one gets into statistical analysis of sentence structure, one can find an almost infinite number of things to count. But the more constructions you add to a statistical study, the more time it takes to do, and the more cumbersome it becomes to some students. The following are suggested because they involve either stylistic questions or questions of syntactic growth. 

For KISS Levels One and Two

     In addition to what was suggested above, you might want to have students make graphs or produce statistics on the following. 

     Sentence Openers -- Prepositional Phrases and/or "But." Some students begin almost all of their sentences with the grammatical subject (perhaps modified by adjectives). Some teachers try to get students to vary their sentence openers. At KISS levels one and two, students will not be able to identify subordinate clauses or verbal as sentence openers, but they should be able to recognize prepositional phrases. Using the same format, students can explore that "rule" about not beginning a sentence with "But."
     Format: Have the students look at the first ten sentences in ten texts. The texts should be from different things that they are reading, but one text should be something that they themselves wrote. Count the number of sentences that begin with a prepositional phrase, or with "But." The results can be reported as statistics (3 of 10, or 30% begin with "But") or on graphs. (Ten columns represent the ten texts, ten rows, the sentences. Red blocks represent prepositional phrases; green block, "But"). 

     Compounds. Compounding is introduced in KISS Level 1.4. Once you start looking at sentences from the KISS perspective (once you can identify the grammatical constructions from which the sentences are constructed and you start using that ability to analyze style), you will probably agree that compounding is a very important aspect of style. KISS Level One teaches students to identify subjects, verbs, and complements, and the compounding of these three constructions is itself stylistically significant. 
     If students are analyzing randomly selected texts, they may have some trouble with this. They will be confused by verbals (verbs that function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs). Distinguishing finite verbs from verbals is the focus of KISS Level 2.1.6, but even after they have studied that, students may still have trouble mastering it. Thus they may need some help with the analysis. In most sentences, however, the subjects, finite verbs, and complements are relatively easy to identify.
     Format: You can basically use the same format as that suggested for sentence-openers, but you may want to have students make three graphs based on the same texts, one for compound subjects, one for compound (finite) verbs, and one for compound complements. For subjects, have them count the first ten subjects (not sentences) and note the number of them that are in compounds. The same is true for finite verbs. Complements present a complication. 

For KISS Levels Three (Clauses) and Up

     Once students get to KISS Level Three, the most important statistics are words per main clause and subordinate clauses per main clause. The following project should be relatively easy and fruitful.

     Words per Main Clause. This can be calculated by counting the number of words in a passage and counting the number of vertical lines in the analyzed passage. (In KISS analyses, vertical lines indicate the end of a main clause.) As noted previously, words per main clause is a primary measure of syntactic maturity.
     Format: The format you want to use here really depends on what you want students to see. Simple statistical averages are helpful in suggesting norms. My college Freshmen, for example, average between 14.5 and 15.5 words per main clause. When these students analyze their own writing, the numbers give them a frame of reference against which they can make some tentative judgments about their own writing -- too short, too long, or "just right." Averages, however, hide the variety in main clause length.
     You may, therefore, want to have students make graphs of the number of words in the first ten main clauses in two or more selections, one of which should be their own writing. The problem with graphs here is that writers don't always write sentences that fit within the graphs. Suppose, for example, you make a graph on which ten columns represent the first ten main clauses. And, to be "safe," your graph has thirty rows to represent words per each main clause. Sooner or later you will find a passage that has some main clauses that are thirty (or fifty) words long. This is not a serious problem. Students can simply write the number of words in that main clause at the top of the column. (I'm just sharing my experience, and letting you know what to expect.

     Words per Main Clause and Compound Main Clauses. As previously noted, words per main clause is a fundamental yardstick of syntactic maturity. Stylistically, however, you will probably be surprised by the frequency with which professional writers compound main clauses. 
     Format: You can have students count compounds as a percentage of total main clauses. Or you can have them use graphs (as in the preceding suggestion) and color code for compounds. For example, they can color the blocks for words in the first main clause in a sentence blue. If the next clause is a compound, color the blocks that represent it yellow (or whatever color they prefer). 

     Subordinate Clauses per Main Clause. These projects may be interesting for students who are working at KISS Levels 3.1 and 3.2. The research of Hunt, Loban, and O'Donnell suggests that subordinate clauses "blossom" around seventh grade. Of course, younger writes do use them, but O'Donnell in particular would probably argue that their clauses are "formulas" -- set strings of words that are learned as a whole. For example, "When we get home, ask mother what you should do." Children, according to O'Donnell, pick up the strings, learn how to replace words in them, and produce more advanced syntactic structures without real mastery of the underlying constructions.
     Formats: Younger students who cannot calculate statistical averages can represent subordinate clauses per main clause graphically simply by having every column in the graph represent a main clause. The rows then represent subordinate clauses. Having analyzed a text, they can go, main clause by main clause, filling in a block in a column for each subordinate clause in its main clauses. (Even most professional sentences rarely have more than five subordinate clauses in a main clause, so this type of graph does not run into the problem of having sentences overflow the graph format, which will happen if every block represents a word in a sentence.) Although these graphs are extremely simply, they may become very informative for students if, for example, every student in a class (or small groups of students) analyze the first ten (or twenty) sentences in texts by different writers (professional as well as student). They can then compare the graphs and see one aspect of how different writers use subordinate clauses differently.
     For students who can identify subordinate clauses and do the math, statistical averages are fairly easy. In KISS, we place brackets [ ] around subordinate clauses and vertical lines at the end of main clauses. To calculate subordinate clauses per main clause, students simply need to count the opening brackets in an analyzed passage and divide that number by the number of vertical lines.
     These statistics (and even more so the graphs) become interesting when used to compare different writers or groups of writers. Imagine, for example, a graph in which the columns represent ten (or more) different writers, and the columns represent the average number of subordinate clauses per main clause used by each writer. My "educated" guess is that some professionals would use very few, whereas others would use quite a few. The graph would clearly show students that the use of subordinate clauses can vary -- it is not a matter of right or wrong, but rather a matter of style. 

      Embedded Subordinate Clauses per Main Clause.  I noted in the introduction to this section that a student asked, "Can a subordinate clause be in a subordinate clause that is in a subordinate clause that is in a subordinate clause?" Students who study Level 3.1 of the KISS Approach will automatically learn the answer to that question, but the answer raises two more -- how often should this occur, and how deeply should clauses be embedded? One of the major problems, particularly of my weaker adult writers, is that they write extremely long sentences, with very heavy embedding of clauses, and they lose control. "Cobweb Corner" has a summary page on the "Type and Embedded Level of  Subordinate Clauses." Again, let me note that those statistics are very tentative in that many more samples need to be studied, but your students can do such studies themselves.
     Format: A very simple study for a single text is to have the columns represent main clauses, and the rows represent subordinate clauses. Color code the embedding levels. For example, Level One = blue; Level Two = yellow; Level Three = green; Level Four = red, etc. Then simply go through the text, main clause by main clause, and fill in the blocks. Graphs of texts by different writers would probably be more interesting in terms of stylistic differences.

     Other Constructions of Stylistic Interest. Any grammatical construction can be studied stylistically, but for purposes of natural syntactic development (the natural increase in sentence length and complexity) and for purposes of style, consider gerundives, appositives, and noun absolutes that function as adverbs. Each of these can be fairly easily counted (and graphed) "per main clause" in ways noted above. The professional studies that I have seen simply count these as individual constructions, but you may find it more interesting to also calculate the average number of words per construction. Young writers, for example, may use these constructions, but the constructions are very short:

Walking home, we saw an accident.
Older writers are more likely to elaborate the construction:
Walking home because it was such a beautiful day,
we saw an accident.
The gerundive phrase in the first example consists of two words -- an "average" of two words per gerundive. In the second example, that same phrase has been modified by a seven-word subordinate clause, thereby creating a nine-word gerundive phrase. Averaged together, the two examples are 5.5 words per gerundive phrase. Researchers who simply count the appearance of these construction miss, I would suggest, an important aspect of stylistic and syntactic development.
The "Chicken" and the "Aluminum" Studies
     The "Chicken" and "Aluminum" passages were used by Kellogg Hunt in an interesting study of "late blooming" constructions." See the "Notes" for more information.
The "Chicken" Passage Notes
The "Aluminum" Passage Notes
In the Bull Pen
   The items listed here are statistical projects that were done in the past. They may be developed in more detail later.
The Opening Sentences from the Nine Chapters of
Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children
by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Data Sheet Discussion
     The data sheet for this set of exercises may be too ambitious. It includes information about the number of words in prepositional phrases, the total number of words that students can explain, the opening words of sentences, the compounding of finite verbs, and the relative number of the types of complements. All of this can be time-consuming, so you may want to do all of just one exercise, or you may want to limit the analysis to just the number of words in prepositional phrases, or the number of sentences that open with something other than simple subject phrases.
Chapter 1 AK -
Chapter 2 AK G5W
Chapter 3 AK -
Chapter 4 AK -
Chapter 5 AK -
Chapter 6 AK -
Chapter 7 AK -
Chapter 8 AK -
Chapter 9 AK -
Golding, William. "Thinking as a Hobby" AK
Text James, William
"The Ethical and Pedagogical Importance of the Principle of Habit"
     This is an excellent essay that all high school students should read and discuss. (I first read it as a Freshman in college.) The seven selections, a total of 1023 main clauses, average 24.4 words per main clause.

Advanced Analytical Questions -- or "What Counts as What?
Main Clauses

One Main Clause? Or Compound Complements?

From: "Niagara Falls," by Rupert Brooke in Modern Essays Selected by Christopher Morley. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1921. New York:

The following is a 106-word sentence:
There are touts insinuating, and touts raucous, greasy touts, brazen touts, and upper-class, refined, gentlemanly, take-you-by-the-arm-touts; touts who intimidate and touts who wheedle; professionals, amateurs, and dilettanti, male and female; touts who would photograph you with your arm round a young lady against a faked background of the sublimest cataract, touts who would bully you into cars, char-?-bancs, elevators, or tunnels, or deceive you into a carriage and pair, touts who would sell you picture post-cards, moccasins, sham Indian beadwork, blankets, tee-pees, and crockery, and touts, finally, who have no apparent object in the world, but just purely, simply, merely, incessantly, indefatigably, and ineffugibly to tout. 
Subordinate Clauses

Adjectival, Adverbial, or Interjection?

From: "Samuel Butler: Diogenes of the Victorians," by Stuart P. Sherman in Modern Essays Selected by Christopher Morley. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1921. New York:

UNTIL I met the Butlerians I used to think that the religious spirit in our times was very precious, there was so little of it.

Is "there was so little of it" a run-on, a subordinate clause that functions as an intejection, or an adverbial subordinate clause? (I counted it as an adverbial clause even though there is no conjunction because it indicates why Sherman thought it was so precious.)

He was not even—till his posthumous disciples made him so—a person of any particular importance. 
Should the "till" clause be counted as adverbial, as an interjection, or both? (I counted it as an interjection. Counting it as both messes up the total number of clauses.)
Prepositional Phrase or Infinitive?

From a student's paper:

I have to wear a dress shirt and tie to work.

Is "work" the place or the act? Can he take it off while working? (This is a 50-50 call based on subjective interpretation.)

From students' papers:
"The women also have the right to dress as they think is appropriate."

"The women also have the right to dress [Adv. as [Inj they think] *it* is appropriate]."

Women  demand more rights, more freedom, and above all they demand to be treated as equal with men.
The "as equal" is a reduced subordinate clause -- "as if they are equal with men."

What if the person they are trying to make a deal with was a woman?
This "What if" is a reduction of "What happens if . . . ." 

[W]e are after a system that scarcely knows it is a system . . . . (from "The Almost Perfect State," by Don Marquis. Modern Essays: Selected by Christopher Morley NEW YORK: HARCOURT, BRACE, 1921; NEW YORK: BARTLEBY.COM, 2000).

"Are after" = "want"
More than One Question in a Sentence

Compound Subject or Appositive?
Adjectival Clause or Interjection?

From: "Beer and Cider," by George Saintsbury in Modern Essays Selected by Christopher Morley. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1921. New York:

The curious “white ale,” or lober agol—which, within the memory of man, used to exist in Devonshire and Cornwall, but which, even half a century ago, I have vainly sought there—was, I believe, drunk quite new; . . . .

Since "lober agol" is simply a different name for "white ale," should it be counted as an appositive instead of a compound subject? (I counted it as a subject.)

Since the "which" clause is set off by dashes, should it be counted as adjectival or as an interjection? (It's both, but I count it as an interjection.)

Syntactically Awkward Sentences
From students' papers:
If a problem can be resolved among each other that would be the best solution.
The function of the "that" clause is unclear. The student initially stated the solution as an adverbial clause. Having done so, he (unconscioiusly) realized that that cluase cannot be a subject, and so restated it with the "that," and then tacked on the verb. What is probably meant is "Resolving a problem within the group would be the best solution."

I think the women are getting a little carried away with filing sexual harassment charges and believe that an agreement can be made between the supervisor and his female employees.
What is the subject of "believe" - "I" or "women"? Drop the "I think"? -- The women are getting a little carried away with filing sexual harassment charges. An agreement can be made between the supervisor and his female employees.???