Are you in your secondary level of education and you are having challenges understanding “grammatical names and functions?” Do you usually skip that question during your English exams? Here are tips that will make you wonder why you have not been seeing this part of comprehension as a piece of cake. As a norm you will be given a comprehension passage, some word(s) or group of words will be underlined and you will be asked to identify the name and state its function. So without much ado, here are the tips.
- If what is underlined is a single word, then the grammatical name is the part of speech. I do hope that you remember that the functional parts of speech are noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, and conjunction. In contemporary English, the interjection or exclamation is no longer treated as a functional part of speech because any part of speech can be interjected. Here comes some example to drive the message home.
E.g. 1. Suddenly, he jumped through the window. The grammatical name is “an adverb” of manner. If “window” is underlined, the grammatical name would be “a noun”.
E.g.2. The seasoned orator rounded off his speech with unusual ecalt. The grammatical name is “an adjective”. If what is underlined is “unusual”, the grammatical name would still be “an adjective”.
- If what is underlined is more than a word, then the grammatical name is either a phrase or a clause. It is a phrase if it does not contain a finite verb. Remember that finite verbs can be inflected while infinitive verbs cannot be inflected. Examples of infinitives are:
- “to infinitive”, 2. “ing-infinitive”, and 3.“ed-infinitive”.
E.g. 1. The newly ordained minister of the new cathedral is a holy man. The underlined expression does not contain a verb at all. The grammatical name is therefore a phrase.
Eg. 2. His abandoning his family because of pressure from his overbearing mother is a sign of immaturity. The underlined expression contains “ing-infinitive”, “abandoning”, but does not have a finite verb. The grammatical name is therefore a noun phrase. It is a clause if it contains a finite verb. Eg. “If he becomes rich”, he would buy his wife a jet. The underlined expression contains a finite verb “becomes”. The grammatical name is therefore a clause. In this case, it is an adverbial clause of condition.
- If what is underlined begins with a relative pronoun “who”, “which”, “whom”, or the free variant “that”, and it comes immediately after a noun or its equivalent, then if it is a clause, the grammatical name is a relative or an adjectival clause. Eg. The man who was newly transferred to the school has been promoted. The grammatical name is a relative or an adjectival clause.
- If what is underlined comes before a verb or after verb, and it has the imprimatur of a noun, then the grammatical name is a noun phrase or a noun clause. E.g. 1. His life of holiness is known to all. Here, the underlined expression is a noun phrase. E.g. 2. She bought a full basket of oranges”. Here, “a full basket of oranges” is a noun phrase.
- If what is underlined begins with “wh-“ or “that”, and it is a clause, and it comes before a verb or after a verb, then the grammatical name is : a wh-clause” or “ a that-clause”. Eg.”That you are beautiful does not mean you can seduce him. The grammatical name is a “a that-clause”.
- If what is underlined modifies a verb, then it is either an adverbial phrase or an adverbial clause. Eg. “Since you have refused to change, I have decided to withdraw my patronage. The underlined modifies the phrasal verb “have decided to withdraw”. The grammatical name is therefore an adverbial, and in this case, an adverbial clause of reasoning. Remember we have different types of adverbial: reason, condition, conditional concession, result, cause, effect, etc. note that mechanically, when it is an adverbial, it is followed by a comma and then a noun or its equivalent. Whatever follows the adverbial is not immediately followed by a verb, otherwise the underlined expression would cease to be an adverbial and becomes a noun phrase or a noun clause, and whatever is enclosed between the two commas would be known as “words in apposition”.