'Determining the crime and the likelihood of a repeat offense should be the prosectutors' criteria in deciding how they try these young adults.'

Could you, please, name the parts of this sentence.
Here is my attempt:

Determining the crime and the likelihood of a repeat purchase= gerund phrase acting as the subject

should= auxillary verb
be= main verb

the prosectutor's criteria in deciding how they try these young adults= Noun phrase and prepositional phrase acting as object of the verb to be

How is this? Correct?

Any further anlysis would be great help, too.

Also, alhough I know the object of this sentence is not a clause, I would just like to know why not. Why can't try be the main verb in this sentence?


What you call your "attempt" is almost perfect, Eddie. You're good at grammar!

One minor correction I'd made would be the category acting as subject: it is a clause, not a phrase. It has a verb (even if not a finite form) and it has modifiers for that verb, as it the whole construction were a predicate.
There is one mistake that is a bit more serious: the verb to be is a linking or copulative verb, so it doesn't take objects. What would be an object if we had a transitive verb, will be a "predicative" also "subject complement" or "subjective complement") when we have a linking verb. That's what "the prosecutor's criteria in deciding how they try these young adults" is. There are no objects in your sentence.

But there's more to analyse in the predicative, which is a complex noun phrase, just like "all that I can see" in your other thread:
the = pre-modifier (category: determiner)
prosecutor's = pre-modifier (category: noun in the genitive case)
criteria = head (category: noun)
in deciding how to try these young adults = post-modifier (category: prepositional phrase)

In the prepositional phrase you have:
in = preposition
deciding how to try these young adults = object of the preposition, also called "oblique object" (category: gerundive clause)
deciding = head (of the object of the preposition)
how to try these young adults - direct object of "deciding" (category = non finite clause)
to try = head of the direct object
these young adults = direct object of "to try"
how = adjunct of manner

You can do a further analysis of the subject of the sentence as well.

now, to answer your questions:
1. Why isn't the direct object of the sentence a clause?
I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it is a noun phrase. Why? Because it has a noun (criteria) as its head.

2. Why can't "try" be the main verb of the sentence?
Because the action of trying is neither performed by the subject nor received by it. Also, it doesn't agree in number/person with the subject. You can't say the following:
"Determining the crime and the likelihood of a repeat purchase try..."
It just wouldn't make any sense.
And you'd be leaving the second part of the sentence without a verb it needs. "Try" has to do with the "young adults".

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Thanks again!

The only part I would not have identified is the non-finite clause. How come you know that is the 'how' is the start of the non-finite clause?

I have a couple of other questions I would like to ask you if that is all right.

1) all that I can see is a sunset casting its last light on the blue nothingness ahead.

I understand now that this is a noun phrase because the relative clause is a part of it but doesn't represent it. However, I have one question that came to fruition when you replied to me.

If one takes out a relative clause (essential or non-essential), can it sometimes make the sentence not grammatically correct? Because in this case, 'All is a sunset... deos not make sense. I understand how clauses essential meaning changes depending on whether the clause is essential or not, but I always thought that if a relative clause was omitted it will still always make sense. Can you please help me with this. Thanks.

2) 'I wanted to tell him to leave, that it was too dangerous.

In this sentence, (I didn't write it) I understand that 'that it was to dangerous' is in apposition to the the other objects in the sentence; however, what I am asking is how does one know if a comma needs to be placed before the noun clause like it has been. Obviously, to the ear it sounds correct to have a comma, but is there a rule? Is it only to do with if the noun clause is essential or non-essential?

3) From this question above, I have another question. Can a phrase and noun clause like above simply have a preceding conjunction omitted and a comma replaces it. In the sentence above, it could be written like this: I wanted to tell him to leave and that it was too dangerous. Is there a rule around this?

Thanks so much for sharing your great knowledge on the subject.
Hi again, Eddie.

"How" is here an interrogative pronoun, and in a sentence, this type of pronoun will introduce a clause of some sort (in this case a noun clause). The same happens with wh-words. Be careful, however, because this is not a golden rule, or a rule that has no exceptions. Most rules have exceptions, and I may not have every single possible case in my head right now. This is a general and broad rule that may be of help more often than now, but not in 100% of the cases.

1. "All that I can see is a sunset casting its last light on the blue nothingness ahead" is NOT a noun phrase but a whole sentence.
In this sentence there are several noun phrases:
a. All that I can see
b. a sunset casting its light on the blue nothingness ahead
c. its light
d. the blue nothingness ahead

I think I said something about relative clauses in another post to you. The relative clauses that you can take out without the sentence losing its sense are the ones called "non-restrictive", the ones that appear between commas. The other type, the restrictive type (which is the case in your sentence) is not set off the rest of the sentence by commas. This means the information the clause provides it necessary for understanding and limiting the noun it modifies, and it can't be removed without altering the sense of the sentence or losing it completely.

2. To be honest, I don't like that sentence very much! lol I think you can follow, to a certain extent, the analysis someone else posted to you somewhere here. I will also say that the sentence may be considered to have one long direct object and no apposition; an object with several heads in coordination:
-I wanted to tell him to leave
-I wanted to tell him that it was too dangerous
-I wanted to tell him that he was risking his life

Actually, I'd make the analysis a bit more complex than that, but I won't because I'd like to show you this analysis in a different form, a form that would be easier to understand because it is visually much clearer, and that's not possible here or on any other forums as far as I know. So this will be all about this sentence. Sorry.
What I can tell you is that the comma before that IS necessary. You yourself said it's obvious that it is needed. you would make a pause before "that" if you were saying (as opposed to writing/typing) the sentence, and you reflect that pause in writing with a comma.

3. You could have said a number of things actually:
-I wanted to tell him to leave and that it was too dangerous.
-I wanted to tell him to leave because it was too dangerous.
-I wanted to tell him to leave, that it was too dangerous.
-I wanted to tell him to leave since it was too dangerous.

For the form that you suggest there is actually a rule: it's true that the word "that" may be omitted in that-clauses (speaking of noun clauses here, remember? Not relative clauses). However, when you have more than one that-clause, one following the other, you can omit only the first "that", but not the second. I'm not sure this makes sense without an example. Let me change the form of your sentence slightly, remove the to-infinitive clause and use only that-clauses.
You can say something like: "I wanted to tell him that he should leave and that it was too dangerous"
I crossed out the first "that", meaning you can omit it, but you can't omit the second. Of course, you can use both. What you can't do is omit the second that if you've already omitted the first. You can't say "I wanted to tell him that he should leave and that it was very dangerous."

I hope I'm not confusing you more with this!

No, no, what you have said is crystal clear! It all makes sense; I have never heard of the rule that the first 'that' can only be omitted.

In regards to question 2, I have one question. The comma rules are rather simple for me; I have learned them, along with other forms of punctuation quite thouroughly (this is actually how I becam interested in the subject); however, in this case I have never come across a rule for the use of a comma here. I know about introductory phrases at times being set off by commas and non-essential words, phrases and clauses being set off, but I have never come across a rule to understand why this comma has to be there. I also know that commas should be used if a participle phrase is in the middle of the sentence and the antecedent is not immediately before it. By the way, I am not trying to show off; I thought it might help you if you understood my level of understanding.

In regards to question 3, I was wondering about whether 'and' can be replaced by a comma because I often see writers do this, and I wasn't sure if this was correct in the most formal writing pieces.

In regards to question 1, sorry, I meant that the first bit was a noun phrase, but I realise the whole thing is a sentence.

Thanks again, Miriam.
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