For my written homework, which is to be handed in before October 15th, one of the tasks is to analyse a sentence in terms of type of sentence, type of clause, clausal pattern, phrases, function within phrases and form class of words.

The sentence is as follows:
He found his secretary a reliable typist

I've managed to figure out that it's a simple sentence and that it consists of one main clause. I also think I've figured out the clausal pattern: S, P, dO and oC (correct me if I'm wrong!)

The problem lies in the next area: phrases.

The first constituent [he] is a noun phrase, [found] is a verb phrase, [his secretary] must be a noun phrase, but what about the next one? Is [a reliable typist] an adjective phrase, or is it simply a noun phrase too, like the others?

Moving into the function within phrases area, is the word typist the head of that phrase? And reliable the premodifier?

I know how to deal with many simple, compound and complex sentences, but I found this one a bit hard actually.

Thanks in advance for all help!
Regards from Norway Emotion: smile
1 2
Hello, Zyph, and welcome to the forums. Emotion: smile

Congratulations! Your analysis is perfect.

"His secretary" is -not just 'must be'- a noun phrase. It has a determiner (his) and a noun as head (secretary).

Object complements are usually either noun phrases/clauses or adjectival phrases/clauses. You are right that in your sentence the OC is a noun phrase. If you are in doubt, compare it with the DO: both have (almost) the same structure. In the OC, "a" is the determiner, "reliable" (adjective) the premodifier, and "typist" (noun) the head.

If the sentence were, say, "He found his secretary very reliable", then the OC would be "very reliable" (an adjectival phrase), with "very" as premodifier and "reliable" as the head.

Thanks Miriam for your quick responce!

I'm studying English at a Norwegian university, and this forum will certainly be used frequently during my time of study. It's great that there are such sources out on the internet, with helpful and clever people ready to answer your question in no time.

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The sentence is interesting for its ambiguity.
Another interpretation, admittedly less likely but nevertheless possible, is S P iO dO.
"Another interpretation, admittedly less likely but nevertheless possible, is S P iO dO."

Yes, my first attempt resulted in an SPOO-sentence actually. Ambiguity creates confusion, and I suspect my teacher in choosing that sentence on purposeEmotion: stick out tongue
Not to mention that ambiguity makes you think!
Aren't teachers just awful that way?!!!

Emotion: smile
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But how can you make a tree diagram for this sentence. I think it is a very hard sentence to analyze. Is found a lexical verb? And how can you analyze his secretary? I know it is a noun phrase but what else?...

I am so bad at tree diagram at this moment. And I have the exact same homework ! Emotion: smile
AnonymousIs found a lexical verb?
A lexical verb is a verb that's not a modal verb nor an auxiliary verb, and "found" is neither of these, so of course it's a lexical verb!
Anonymoushow can you analyze his secretary?
I don't know what else you need to know about it in order to diagram it. I would say it's the first of two noun phrases in a subordinate structure. Is that what you're looking for?


how can we differentiate a noun phrase and adjective phrase??

Ali likes a red silky shirt.

here shirt is noun or a red silky shirt is determiner or modifier...

but it can b a red silky as a adjective phrase...

kindly share your views and guide me

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