Sentence Diagrams

Sentence 3

Unhappy bus and truck drivers argued yesterday that proposed limits on the time they can drive will cost the economy millions of dollars and make the roads less safe.

          - Associated Press (published on June 1, 2000, in Louisville, KY, in The Courier-Journal, page A3)

Lesson 3: A verb is a word that expresses action, state of being, relation, or condition. Verbs have various tenses; here are some examples:
present tense is has asks runs sees
past tense was had asked ran saw
future tense will be will have will ask will run will see
perfect tense has been has had has asked has run has seen
past-perfect tense had been had had had asked had run had seen
future-perfect tense will have been will have had will have asked will have run will have seen
In a sentence diagram, the verb is separated from the subject by a vertical line that passes through a principal horizontal line. In the above sentence, notice that such a line separates the subjects drivers, limits, and they from the verbs argued, will cost and make, and can drive, respectively.
Apologia pro descriptione mea: 1. An entire clause, in this case an indirect statement, functions as the direct object of the main verb argued. It is introduced by the word that, which serves as a place holder or a signal word for the indirect statement. When used in this way, that is called an expletive. Other expletives include if in I don't know if I should tell you and  there in There are 20 students present. 2. The clause they can drive is a relative clause whose introductory relative pronoun that (which here functions as an adverbial objective) is unexpressed. Since the antecedent of the unexpressed that is time; a broken line is drawn between the x and time. 3) Neither economy nor millions is a direct object. To qualify as a direct object, a word has to be able to become the subject of a corresponding sentence in the passive voice. Since the verb cost cannot be used passively, it cannot have a direct object. One is tempted to call economy an indirect object; however, in English, an indirect object, like a direct object, can become the subject of a corresponding passive-voice sentence. The best solution seems to be to assign it to that huge class of words called adverbial objectives (nouns that function adverbially). In any case, the other word in question, millions, is (one can say with greater confidence) an adverbial objective. 4) The word safe is an objective complement.
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