Sentence Diagrams

Sentence 2

Reports about medicines in newspapers and on television commonly contain little or no information about drugs' risks and cost, and often cite medical "experts" without disclosing their financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, according to a new study.

           - Susan Okie, The Washington Post (published on June 1, 2000, in Louisville, KY, in The Courier-Journal, page A3)

Lesson 2: This sentence contains seven prepositions. A useful (but incomplete) definition of a preposition is "anywhere a mouse can go." Applying that definition, we come up with in, into, on, onto, to, toward, over, under, across, behind, between, through, by, and others; however, the prepositions for, with, without, besides, since, during, and until do not express where a mouse can go. It is important to note that a preposition must have an object, that is, a noun or pronoun (more about pronouns later) that comes after it and completes it. The combination of preposition, object, and modifiers (if any--more about modifiers later as well) is called a prepositional phrase. Since there are seven prepositions in our sentence, there are, necessarily, seven prepositional phrases. If you counted, you may have missed the seventh preposition, according to, a compound preposition. Some other compound prepositions are because of, on account of, except for, out of, instead of, in spite of, and next to.  

Apologia pro descriptione mea: Prepositional phrases can be adverbial or adjectival. If they modify (limit, restrict) nouns, as do five of them in Ms. Okie's sentence, they are adjectival and must be diagrammed under their respective nouns.  Of the remaining two, the one introduced by according to modifies both contain and cite; thus, when diagrammed it is attached to the line segment that pertains to both verbs. The  without-phrase modifies the verb cite and is diagrammed accordingly. The object of without is a gerund phrase (the verbal noun disclosing plus the direct object ties with modifiers. 

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