Sentence Diagrams

Sentence 16

          President Clinton opened the door yesterday for states to provide unemployment pay to workers who take unpaid time off to care for a newborn child or sick relative, expanding an already popular Family Leave Act.

- Associated Press (published on June 11, 2000, in Louisville, KY, in The Courier-Journal, page A5)

Lesson 16: A participle is a verbal adjective. In the above sentence, the word expanding is a participle, more precisely, a present active participle. Other possible participles of the verb expand are being expanded (present passive), expanded (past), having expanded (present-perfect active), having been expanded (present-perfect passive), and having been expanding (present-perfect progressive active). In a sentence diagram, the lines designating a participle resembles those drawn for an infinitive, except that the slanted and horizontal lines meet at the point of the diagonal line (the lower end of the slanted line does not extend below the horizontal line). Be careful not to confuse the participial components of verb forms with participles in the strict sense, or verbal adjectives. For example, in the sentences They are expanding the store and They have expanded their inventory, the words expanding and expanded are verbal but not adjectival.. If these sentences were diagrammed, expanding and expanded would be shown as part of the verb (i.e., are expanding and have expanded).
Apologia pro descriptione mea: 1. The phrase beginning with states (and including the relative clause) is the object of the preposition for, and not states alone. The door was opened for the providing of pay by the states. A similar sentence would be They wanted him to act decisively. If this sentence were diagrammed, him to act decisively would be placed on a pedestal as the direct object of wanted. It isn't he who is wanted but his decisive action. Contrast that with attempts to step in in Sentence 15 and plot to kill King in Sentence 14, where the infinitive phrases describe the kind of attempts and the kind of plot, respectively. 
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