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It had been frustrating living in the shadow of Victoria.

If I invert the sentence to omit the dummy 'it', it appears like this:

Living in the shadow of Victoria had been frustrating.

Three questions arise from this:

1)Is frustrating a gerund or present participle? It seems to describe the subject (particple), but it also takes the place of a gerund; that is, the complement.

2)Is frustrating a verb now instead of a verbal (complement) because of the auxiliary verbs? So what function does it perform? Complemet, object, verb, etc?

3)I wanted to tell him to leave- Does the infinitive 'to tell' become a part of the verb in this sentence? Why/why not?

Thanks a lot!
1 2
Comments  
3. 'To tell' is not part of the main verb of the sentence. That entire part of the sentence is the direct object of the verb 'wanted'.

1 & 2. I'll leave them for the more competent to answer.
Eddie88
Living in the shadow of Victoria had been frustrating.

1)Is frustrating a gerund or present participle? It seems to describe the subject (particple), but it also takes the place of a gerund; that is, the complement.

2)Is frustrating a verb now instead of a verbal (complement) because of the auxiliary verbs? So what function does it perform? Complemet, object, verb, etc?

Grammatical terminology varies fromcountry to country but I think it rather odd if anyone wereto consider frustrating a gerund in your sentence. As I see it, it's a present participle used as an adjective, or used adjectivally. (What had living been like? It had been frustrating. Cf. It had been dull.) Frustrating is a complement. A participle can function as a complement just as an adjective can.

CB
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Living there is frustrating.

living there - subject - gerund-noun plus adverb
is - linking verb
frustrating - subject complement / predicate adjective / present participle

frustrating is adjectival because you can add "very" -- an adverb of degree that can be used to modify adjectives.

Living there is very frustrating.


If frustrating were part of a verb phrase, you'd need an object.

Living there is frustrating [all of us / me / Susan].

Here's another: This problem has been frustrating the manager for days.

Here the word frustrating expresses actively doing something to the object, not just describing how it is to live there (not just describing what the problem is like, in the second example).

You can't have, for example,

*Living there is very frustrating [all of us / me / Susan].

*It has been very frustrating the manager.

"very" goes with adjectives; the nonsense of "is very frustrating me" shows that "frustrating" is not an adjective in "frustrating me".

Changing the tense of the linking verb (or adding a modal verb) does not affect the analysis.

Living there | was | frustrating.
Living there | will be | frustrating.
Living there | has been | frustrating.
Living there | had been | frustrating.
Living there | could have been | frustrating.

Neither does changing a simple adverb to a prepositional phrase (or more).

Living in that room | was | frustrating.
Living in the mountains | may have been | frustrating.
Living in the shadow of Victoria | had been | frustrating.
____

I wanted to tell him to leave.

I - subject - pronoun

wanted - main verb

to tell him to leave - object of the verb wanted - first infinitival clause. The implicit subject (from the main clause) is I / me.

I wanted [ Emotion: it wasnt me to tell him to leave].

tell - verb of the first infinitival clause

him - indirect object of tell

him to leave - object of the verb tell - infinitival clause

him - subject of the second infinitival clause (him has a double function.)

to leave - verb of the second infinitival clause

I wanted [ I tell him [ he leave] ] = subj verb [ subj i.o. [subj verb ] ] =

I wanted [ (me) to tell him [ (him) to leave ] ]

Both segments in brackets [ ] are infinitival clauses with implicit subjects and are direct objects of the verb that precedes them.
Strike-outs show the implicit subjects of the clauses. (Subjects of infinitival clauses are always in the objective case.)

CJ
A verbal is a non-finite form of a verb.

frustrating is thus a verbal. All -ing forms of verbs are non-finite forms, and thus verbals.

When the -ing form functions as a noun, we call it a gerund. Swimming is good for your health.
When the -ing form functions as an adjective (or predicate adjective), we call it a (present) participle. Champagne is also called sparkling wine. Hilda's story about the rabbit was amusing.
When the -ing form occurs as a verb (supported by a previously occurring finite verb), we can still call it a (present) participle, though it is not adjectival in this context. Lucy has been waiting for hours.

-ing forms also sometimes occur as the verbal element of a subordinate non-finite adverbial clause. Again, they are still called (present) participles in this situation. Peter being late, the family began dinner without him.

CJ
Thanks, CJ, Phillip and Cool Breeze!

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So, if the verbal, present participle, frustrating, has auxiliaries preceding it, and has an object, then it becomes a part of the verb phrase.

Also, if it has an object, then it is a part of the verb phrase, and is thus a verb; however, if it were not to have an object, then it serves as a complement.

Living in the shadow of Victoria has been frustrating- In this sentence, frustrating acts as a verbal, and more specifically as a present participle/predicate adjective

Living in the shadow of Victoria has been frustrating me- Because of the direct obect, frustrating is now a part of the verb chain: 'has been frustrating.

1) Is this correct?
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2) And in the case of the last sentence, 'I want to tell him to leave,' is the main verb 'wanted' a past participle? If so, should it not be functioning as an adjective and not the main verb?

3) And secondly, how do you know in this case that 'to tell' is the object AND NOT a part of the verb phrase, 'wanted to tell'?

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Thanks a lot.'
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1) Is this correct? Yes. What you wrote above is correct.
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2) And in the case of the last sentence, 'I want to tell him to leave,' is the main verb 'wanted' a past participle? If so, should it not be functioning as an adjective and not the main verb? wanted is the main verb. There is nothing else there that can be a main verb. So it's not a past participle. If it were supported by another finite verb, for example, if it were have wanted, then wanted would be a past participle. But standing alone it is not a past participle. It is the past tense of want.

3) And secondly, how do you know in this case that 'to tell' is the object AND NOT a part of the verb phrase, 'wanted to tell'?

An infinitive is not considered an extension of the main verb. It's a new verb.

The whole phrase "wanted to tell him to leave" can be considered a verb phrase. (See definition 2, below.)

There are two definitions of "verb phrase":

1. Just the inflected (finite) verb and its non-finite associates -- not including infinitives. Also "verb chain". (traditional approach)

can do, would have seen, is walking, has swum, may have been done, are, went, thought, have shaken, did allow, needed, ...


2. Everything in the sentence except the subject. (Transformational Grammar approach)

went to the office, had a good time, let us dance and sing all night long, found a good bargain on coats at Macy's department store last week, thought he had seen a ghost, devised a pyramid scheme for making money, refused to let anyone enter, ...

CJ
Oh, thanks, you wrote this reply at the same time I wrote the other one.

In regards to my confusion about why it wasn't a particple when it was actually part tense of want, I suppose one can diffentiate between it being the main verb and a participle by whether it describes a noun or not; if it describes a noun, it must be a participle and not the main verb. Would this be a correct way?

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I'm so sorry! Last question, I promise. I want to know if I have analysed this sentence correctly.

Ross' musical talents are not as amazing as he and Sam think.

There are two finite verbs; therefore, there are two clauses.

I thought of rearranging it: He and Sam think that Ross' musical talents are not amazing.

(He, by the way is Ross.)

Would re-arranging the sentence like this be correct even though I have omitted the as... as (idiom)?

This would mean I have the following:

He and Sam think=main clause
that Ross' musical talents are not amazing=Complementizer 'that' PLUS a noun clause/complement clause.

I'd love to know if I have it right! It would be a great way to finnish!
my confusion about why it wasn't a particple when it was actually part tense of want, I suppose one can diffentiate between it being the main verb and a participle by whether it describes a noun or not; if it describes a noun, it must be a participle and not the main verb. Would this be a correct way?
No. It's got nothing to do with nouns. Just line up all your verbs of the main clause in a chain, excluding intervening adverbs. Start at the first verb; end at the last verb in the chain. The chain begins after the last non-verb. The chain ends with the first non-verb. Note how non-verbs cut off the chain, except for intervening adverbs.

The task was quickly done by Paul. > task was done by> was done
Karen has been going to singing lessons for three weeks. > Karen has been going to> has been going
Tom could never have thrown the ball so well. > Tom could have thrown the> could have thrown
Ursula wanted to dance. > Ursula wanted to> wanted
Ursula has always wanted to dance. > Ursula has wanted to> has wanted
Virginia will soon know how to do that. > Virginia will know how> will know
Jane decided to start early. > Jane decided to> decided
Jane has finally decided to start. > Jane has decided to> has decided

You may find that your verb chain has only one verb. If that's so, it's an inflected form, a finite verb. It can't be a participle. (Note wanted and decided, above.) The first verb of the verb chain of the main clause is always an inflected form, a finite verb.

(Note has wanted and has decided, above. In those, the inflected form is has, and wanted and decided are past participles.)

CJ
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