All posts by Olivia Lopez

English 362: Final Prep!

Almost done Pwips! Congratulations! As you review for the final, make sure you study Professor Baumgardt’s handouts. They nicely summarize all the main topics that we covered. Also, review sample sentences and diagrams. You should be able to diagram sentences down to the very last word.  Professor Baumgardt has a study guide that covers everything you need to study.

Since diagramming will be a crucial part of the final, here’s a review of some of the main steps and details to keep in mind:

Diagramming steps–

1. Create the “S” node over the whole sentence

2. Create NP node and PredPhr node, and nodes for any postcore or precore elements.

3. Divide the PredPhr into the VP and any other elements that may be there such as NPs and PrepPhrs

4. Divide the VP into the head V and any Auxiliaries and modifiers

5. Divide any NPs into nodes of its head N, and any other elements such as adjective phrases, PrepPhrs, DetPhrs, etc.

6. Divide any PrepPhr into Prep + NP

7. Divide any Detphr into any pre-determiners (PreDet), the main Det, and post-determiners (Post-Det). Also, mark the “of” as a Prep in form and Link in function.

8. Divide any AdjPhr into its head Adj and any comparative elements (like “more” or “bigger”) and any modifiers of that head Adj

9. Divide any AdvPhr into its head Adv and any comparative elements (like “more”) and other Advs

10. Remember that the function of the head of the phrase is the function of the whole phrase and vice versa.

See page 45 for a list of diagram Form and Function labels. Also note pp. 48-9 for the definitions of the different phrases we learned about.

Good luck all! Study hard!

English 362: Chapter 11: Intro to the Passive

Heyo Pwips! Before we get into the passive, let’s review the parts of the verb phrase that we have learned so far:

1. The modal auxiliaries that express “modalities”, or ways of modifying the meaning of the verb by suggesting an obligation or degree of probability.

2. The perfect aspect, which suggests a past event that has a continuing effect in the present (remember the perfect is formed by have + -en)

3. The progressive aspect, which backgrounds a process to a real or implied foregrounded event (remember progressive is formed by be + -ing)

4. The lexical verb itself

This formula sums up the verb phrase that we have learned so far:

VP = (Modal) (have+en) (be+ing) Verb


The Passive

Now we will add another element to the VP formula—the passive. The passive is formed by the auxiliary verb to be followed by a verb in the –en form. Along with being an auxiliary, the passive creates an interesting word order in sentences.

For example:

My first princess Barbie doll was destroyed by my older brother.

(Note how the passive is formed with a form of to be, in this case was, and the –en form of a verb, in this case destroyed is the –en form of destroy.)

Notice how the subject (my first princess Barbie doll) is not the thing performing the action. Rather it is receiving the action. Instead the noun phrase “my older brother” in the PrepPhr is the performer of the action. This is the unusual word order that the passive creates in a sentence. The prepositional phrase “by my older brother” is called the by-phrase.

When a sentence is in the passive, you can change it to an active sentence by taking the NP in the by-phrase and making it the subject.

For example:

My older brother destroyed my first princess Barbie doll.

We call the NP of the by-phrase the agent. When you diagram a by-phrase, its form will be PrepPhr, and its function will be Agentive. The NP of the by-phrase will simply be PrepComp.


English 362: Chapter 8: Kinds of Nouns

Heyo Pwips! Lets talk about the different kinds of nouns that exist:

Proper Nouns

These nouns are usually names. They can refer to a specific person, place, institution, etc.


Cheyenne, The Great Wall of China, The University of Wisconsin, Jack Sparrow, Lady Mary, Yellowstone National Park, Mr. Handsome, Dr. Seuss, Reepicheep


Mass and Count Nouns

There is a mass/count distinction that separates nouns that can be individually counted from nouns that come in masses of material.

Examples of Count Nouns:

Scissors, book, hobbit, light saber, top hat, Pwips, cars

Examples of Mass Nouns:

Sugar, air, happiness, patriotism, magic

Concrete vs Abstract Nouns

Concrete nouns are nouns that are tangible or perceptible. Abstract nouns usually refer to qualities, ideas, and activities.

Examples of Concrete:

puppies, rain, Sponge Bob Square Pants, hair, slime, butterfly, trash cans

Examples of Abstract:

Love, fear, flying, confessions, grammar, graduation


English 362: Chapter 8: Special Plurals

Heyo Pwips! Let’s talk about plurals!

Most nouns are made plural by simply adding -s to the end. However, there are some special English  nouns and nouns that come from Latin or Greek that we use. These nouns do not follow the pattern of simply adding -s. Lets take a look at the singular and the plural forms of these nouns.

Special English Plurals:

  • child=children
  • Woman=women
  • man=men

There are also special plurals for common animals

  • bull/cow=cattle
  • sheep=sheep
  • mouse=mice
  • deer=deer


Latin and Greek Plurals

Latin and Greek nouns sometimes form their plurals based on Latin and Greek rules. Here are examples of such plurals:

Words that end in –us usually make their plurals in –i

  • fungus=fungi
  • nucleus=nuclei
  • focus=foci
  • alumnus=alumni

Words that end in –a, have a plural –ae

  • alumna=alumnae
  • emerita=emeritae

Words that end in –um (Latin) or –on (Greek) form their plural in -a

  • erratum=errata
  • criterion=criteria
  • corrigendum=corrigenda

Exception: Often writers identify the -a plural of this type as the singular form. For example, criteria and phenomena are often used as singular nouns (the criteria/the phenomena is…) but not always. Agenda, however, has become a singular form. (see page 149)

Words that end in –is form the plural with –es.

  • crisis=crises
  • analysis=analyses


English 362, Chapter 8: Personal Pronouns

  • Heyo Pwips! We are on to chapter 8! In this chapter we will focus on the noun phrase. An important element of the noun phrase is the pronoun. Pronouns are substitutes for noun phrases (they take the place of a noun). There are several types of pronouns, but the set called personal pronouns are the core of this pronoun system.

Personal Pronouns:

Personal Pronouns have four aspects to their forms: Person, Gender, Number, and Case

Person refers to first-person form, second-person form, and third-person form.

Gender: The third person personal pronouns have masculine and feminine forms (he, she, his, her, him, etc.)

Number: refers to the fact that pronouns have singular and plural forms

Case: a distinction that refers to how a word functions in the sentence.

There are 3 types of case: Nominative (means the word functions as a subject in the sentence), Objective (means the word functions as an object of some kind) and Possessive (means the word indicates possession).

Now let’s look at examples of these pronoun forms:

Personal Pronouns in Nominative Case:
  • First person singular—I
  • First person, plural—we
  • Second person, singular—you
  • Second person, plural—you
  • Third person, singular—he, she, it
  • Third person, plural—they


Personal Pronouns in Objective Case
  • First person, singular–me
  • First person, plural—us
  • Second person, singular—you
  • Second person, plural—you
  • Third person, singular—him, her, it
  • Third person, plural—them



Personal Pronouns in Possessive Case
  • First Person, singular—my
  • First person, plural—our
  • Second person, singular—your
  • Second person, plural—your
  • Third person, singular—his, her, its
  • Third person, plural—their


Our family turns into a flock of swindling, mafia vultures when it comes to left over dessert!

That is my pumpkin pie!

Mom put your pie in the fridge.

In my family, you have to mark your food, hide it, and play guard patrol during mealtimes.

There is a special sub-category of Possessive Pronouns: Independent Possessive Pronouns

  • First Person, singular—mine
  • First person, plural—ours
  • Second person, singular—yours
  • Second person, plural—yours
  • Third person, singular—his, hers
  • Third person, plural—theirs

These are independent because they can stand alone in a sentence and don’t have a following noun that they refer to like the previous possessive pronouns:

That pie is mine.

Yours is in the fridge.



English 362: Chapter 7: 2 New Sentence Patterns

Heyo Pwips! Let’s look at our two new sentence patterns!

So far we’ve had the following patterns:






This chapter, we are adding 2 more:



Remember that AC stands for “adverbial complement”. The difference between these two sentence patterns is that one (S-V-AC) represents a sentence with an intransitive verb, and the other (S-V-DO-AC) represents a sentence with a transitive verb. Remember that a transitive verb always has direct objects (DO). Oppositely, an intransitive verb does not.


Snoopy crept under the bed.

This sentence is an example of S-V-AC with the PrepPhr “under the bed” functioning as an AC.

Charlie Brown kicked the football into the tree.

This sentence is an example of S-V-DO-AC with “the football” functioning as DO, and “into the tree” functioning as AC.


English 362: Chapter 7 – Prepositional Phrases

Congrats on finishing chapter 6 pwips! Brace yourselves, and lets keep forging ahead to chapter 7!

In this chapter, we will begin with talking about the structure of prepositional phrases and three of the ways they can function.


The common structure of prepositional phrases is Prep + NP. The NP has the function of the prepositional complement (PrepComp)

  • Here are examples:

without you

on the boat

in our records of the American War for Independence

Note that prep phrases can contain other prep phrases as is shown in the last example. But also note how each of those prep phrases had the basic structure of Prep + NP.

Now lets discuss some of the different functions of the PrepPhr.

  1. Prep phrases as Modifiers of a Noun or Noun Phrase

One function of a prep phrase is to modify a noun as an adjective does. Remember: When prep phrases modify nouns, it will always follow that noun.

  • Example:

My mom made the recipe from the Puerto Rican cookbook

In this sentence, the noun that is being modified by a prep phrase is “the recipe”. The phrase that modifies it is “from the Puerto Rican cookbook”. Since this prep phrase modifies a noun, that prep phrase is part of the overall NP “the recipe from the Puerto Rican cookbook”.


2.   Prep Phrases as Noncore Phrases

In the last chapter, we learned about precore and postcore phrases such as adjuncts and adverbials. The form of those phrases is often prep phrase.

  • Examples:

In my opinion, the Beijing Olympics ceremony was the most impressive.

The baby cried during the night.

In the first sentence, the prep phrase functions as an adjunct. In the second, it functions as an adverbial.


3.   Prep Phrases as Adverbial Complements

Prep phrases can also function as adverbial complements. Adverbial complements complete the sense of a verb.

  • Examples:

My mom put the raspberry cream-cheese cake in the oven.

The first wave of raiders broke through the north gate.

In both of these sentences, the prep phrases that function as adverbial complements are “in the oven” and “through the north gate”. If you remove these phrases, you can see how the sense of the verb is incomplete.




English 362: Chapter 6: Problematic Verbs

There is often a lot of confusion surrounding the verbs “to lay” and “to lie”, and “to sit” and “to set” because they are so similar in a few of their forms. Let’s look at how to determine when to use each verb and distinguish between their meanings.

Lay and Lie

First of all here are the different forms of each:

  • Base form= lay/ lie
  • -Ing Form = laying/ lying
  • -En Form = laid/ lain
  • General Present = lay/ lie
  • -S Present = lays/ lies
  • Past Tense = laid/ lay


The key difference between these two verbs is that “to lay” is a transitive verb and “to lie” is an intransitive verb. Remember that transitive means that the verb takes a direct object (DO).

Here are examples with “to lay”:

My annoying brothers lay their dirty feet on my bed. (General present)

Frodo lays his weary head against the soft pillow. (-S present)

Tree Beard laid Merry and Pippin down on the grass. (Past)

The soldiers were laying beams across the northern entrance. (-ing form)

I have laid decorative center pieces on the tables. (-En form)

In each of these sentences, there is a direct object after the verb. (For example, in the first sentence the direct object is feet)


Here are sentences with “to lie”:

My furry cat lies on my jacket. (-S present)

Cats lie on my fluffy jacket. (General present)

My furry cat lay on my jacket yesterday. (Past tense)

My furry cat was lying on my jacket. (-ing form)

My furry cat has lain on my jacket before. (-En form)

In these sentences, you see that “to lie” does not take any direct object.


Sit and Set

Typically, these two verbs are less confusing, but they are still worth discussing. Again, we have a difference of “to set” as a transitive verb and “to sit” as an intransitive verb.

First, here are the forms of each:

  • Base form= set/ sit
  • -Ing Form = setting/ sitting
  • -En Form = set/ sat
  • General Present = set/ sit
  • -S Present = sets/ sits
  • Past Tense = set/ sat


Example Sentences

I sat with my back against the wall. (Past)

She sits next to her family. (-s present)

I was sitting there when he randomly introduced himself. (-ing form)

I have sat there before. (-en form)

Nobody should sit alone. (General present)


My family has set a record for most family stickers on the car window. (-En Form)

I set my books on that table usually. (General present)

He sets up the stage scenery. (-S present)

He is setting up the stage scenery. (-ing form)

I set my hopes on a vacation to Japan or China. (Past)

English 362: Object Sentence Patterns! (ft. Jackie Chan)

Whasup Pwips! S-V-DO, S-V-IO-DO, and S-V-DO-OC are three of our sentence patterns. Let’s take a closer look at the components of each one.

  1. S-V-DO

This sentence pattern consists of a subject, verb, and direct object.

  • Direct Object: a noun phrase that is the target of the verb


Jackie Chan flawlessly performed a flip-kick.

In order to help you determine the DO (which is the target noun phrase of the verb) ask “who?” or “what?” of the verb. In this sentence you could ask “Jackie Chan performed what?”, and the answer is “a flip-kick”.


2.   S-V-IO-DO

The components of this sentence pattern are Subject, Verb, Indirect Object, and Direct Object. The IO and DO are two separate noun phrases. The IO is the recipient of the DO. In most cases, the IO is a human recipient.


Jackie Chan gave the villain a knuckle sandwich.

In this sentence, we identify the DO by finding the target of the verb “gave” which is the noun phrase “a knuckle sandwich”. We find the IO by locating the recipient of that knuckle sandwich, which is the second noun phrase “the villain”.

3.   S-V-DO-OC

The components of this sentence pattern are Subject, Verb, Direct Object, and Object Complement. An Object Complement (OC) is usually a noun phrase, but it can also occur as an adjectival phrase. An OC complements the DO. (Remember that a complement is an element that “completes” or extends the sense of another element in a construction.)

Example 1:

My little brother named Jackie Chan the greatest martial artist.

The DO is “Jackie Chan” and the OC that complements that DO is the noun phrase “the greatest martial artist”.

Example 2:

The rigorous training made Jackie Chan strong.

In this sentence the DO is once again “Jackie Chan”, but the OC is the AdjPhr “strong” that complements “Jackie Chan”.

Precore and Postcore and Batman!

Way to go Pwips! You made it through chapters 3 & 4 and an introduction to the noun phrase and sentence types. In the upcoming chapter 5, we will dive into the predicate phrase and certain phrases that are not a part of the core sentence.

Here is an introduction to those certain phrases—

  • First of all, we need to define what the core sentence is:

– The subject and the predicate of a simple declarative sentence are the core of the sentence.

  • For example:

Batman is the best superhero of all time!

“Batman” is the subject of the sentence, and “is the best superhero of all time” is the predicate. These two components always make up the core sentence.

Various kinds of phrases can be added at the beginning or end of the core sentence. These phrases are referred to as precore and postcore phrases and have different forms and functions. They add circumstances or comments about the core.

The first kind of these phrases is a precore phrase:

  • Pre-Adjuncts: These precore phrases frame the core sentence by telling us a circumstance that is true of the entire sentence. They tell the attitude of the writer toward the sentence or tell the reader what the next topic of the text will be.
    • For example:

In my opinion, Batman is the best superhero of all time.

First you identify the core of the sentence, which is the subject and predicate phrases “Batman is the best superhero of all time”.

“In my opinion” is a prepositional phrase that is functioning as a pre-adjunct. It is not part of the subject, nor is it part of the predicate since it doesn’t say something about the subject “Batman”. Instead it presents a circumstance that comments on, or provides a setting for the whole sentence. In this case, “in my opinion” tells us the writer’s attitude to the sentence.

  • Adverbials: Another type of phrase that can be precore; the term adverbial refers to the function of this type of phrase. Adverbials come in various forms such as noun phrases, simple adverbs, or prepositional phrases. Adverbials express a time at which an action takes place, where the action occurs, or the manner in which an action was carried out.
  • For example:

In a somber tone of voice, Alfred said that some men just want to watch the world burn.

The adverbial “in a somber tone of voice” is a prepositional phrase that expresses the manner in which Alfred is speaking.

Every day the Joker acts like a dog chasing cars.

“Every day” is the adverbial with the form of NP, and it establishes when the action takes place.

In the hospital, Harvey Dent received a surprise visit from the Joker.

The adverbial “In the hospital” describes where the action is taking place.

Post Core Phrases:

Sometimes pre-adjuncts occur at the end of the core sentence, in which case they are called Post-Adjuncts. Post adjuncts function in the same ways as pre-adjuncts.

  • Example:

Ironman is not as epic as Batman, with all due respect.

The post-core phrase “with all due respect” shows the attitude of the writer just as a pre-adjunct would.

Here is an example of a Post-core Adverbial:

  • Example:

Batman leapt into the Batmobile in great haste.

“In great haste” is an adverbial expressing the manner in which the action is taking place.