Sentence Diagrams

Sentence 17

In response to such complaints, the Regional Airport Authority has announced it will seek $215 million to cut in half the time needed to move about 1,000 families whose neighborhoods have been identified as most adversely affected by airport noise.

          - Butch John (published on June 11, 2000, in Louisville, KY, in The Courier-Journal, page A1)

Lesson 17: 1. Nominative absolutes are relatively rare in English, unlike the corresponding ablative absolute in Latin. Unfortunately, there is no nominative absolute in Mr. John's sentence (nor in any of the preceding 16 sentences), so I will invent an example: The cook having overslept, the guests had to wait for their breakfast. The nominative absolute is everything up to the comma. Nominative absolutes can usually be restated as adverbial clauses. In this case, since (or because) the cook had overslept, a causal clause, could replace the nominative absolute. The sentence is diagrammed below. 2. Note that needed and affected are past participles. In my sentence, having overslept is a present-perfect active participle. 
Apologia pro descriptione mea: 1. The verb have been identified functions here as a linking verb; thus, the participial phrase beginning with affected must be diagrammed as a predicate adjective. Note that the word as is an expletive; it serves as a placeholder for the predicate adjective and does not enter into the meaning of the sentence. 2. In the second sentence, had to wait, like its present-tense equivalent must wait, is considered an inflectional form of the verb wait. But, whereas must wait would be on a single line, had to wait is not because to wait is an infinitive. Such an infinitive is called a complementary infinitive. Other verbs like must (modal auxiliary verbs) are can, should, may, and might.
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