Mahid Masseluang

I had nothing to do as I was alone tonight. So I searched for my name in Google and guess what? I just found out a very close and dear friend of mine who is in Labuan, an ex roomie and coursemate at the Uni now writes for the Star - he has indeed a column of his own (eh sorry, just sent him a text message, he said "I only occasionally write for the column" - ok ler tuh...) but whatever it is I am republishing it here because

1. he's a dear friend and I am very gila proud of him and
2. he had used my name as well as our other best(est) of friends' names in his examples - ahahah guesslah which is mine?

So, here's the article. on English usage...duh! Engrish...


Wednesday April 16, 2008

Knowing ‘form’ and ‘function’

MANY thanks to Mr Oh Teik Theam for the good activity on identifying and differentiating the parts of speech (March 27).

It is indeed beneficial for us to know the different parts of speech within a sentence because it will enable us to correctly position these in a sentence. For example, knowing a word is an adjective allows us to place it before a noun or after a “verb to be”:

1) A diligent man.

2) Azzuhri is diligent.

Other than the different parts of speech, another aspect of grammar that is of great importance is the difference between “form” and “function”.

“Form” can be broadly defined as “what it is” and “function” as “what it does” within a sentence.

Examples of “form” are verb (or verb phrase), noun (or noun phrase), adjective (or adjective phrase) and adverb (or adverb phrase). Examples of “function” are subject, predicate, object, adjectival, adverbial and complement.

It is critical to know the differences because 1) we can grammatically position or arrange all the parts within a sentence and 2) some “forms” can have many “functions” within a sentence, as in the following examples:

1) The students are studying.

2) The students are completing the assignments.

In the above sentences, “the students” and “the assignments” are both noun phrases. However, “the students” is the subject while the “the assignments” is the object.

More examples can be seen in the following:

1) The man is gone.

2) Syahrel is standing under the tree.

3) Irham has placed the vase on the dinner table.

4) Roy is a belly dancer.

5) We have voted Shaz the president of the Q Club.

In 1), “the man” – form: noun phrase; function: subject / “gone” – form: verb (past participle form); function: adjectival / “is gone” – form: verb phrase; function: predicate.

In 2), “Syahrel” – form: noun phrase (proper noun); function: subject / “under the tree” – form: prepositional phrase; function: adverbial / “is standing under the tree” – form: verb phrase; fuunction: predicate.

In 3), “the vase” – form: noun phrase; function: object / “on the dinner table” – form: prepositional phrase; function: complement / “the dinner table” - form: noun phrase; function: object of preposition / “dinner” – form: noun; function: adjectival.

In 4), “a belly dancer” – form: noun phrase; function: complement / “belly” – form: noun; function: adjectival

In 5), “we” – form: noun phrase (pronoun); function: subject / “Shaz” – form: noun phrase (proper noun); function: object / “the president of the Q club” – form: noun phrase; function: object complement.

Good grammar books should have all the forms and functions explained thoroughly.

– Mahid bin Masseluang, Labuan

MOre of Mahid's articles here, here, here and here
Hehehe have I not become Mahid's stalker now?

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