Let me return to the issue of wildly incompetent grammar text writing and the question (which I posed here) of whether and how you can find three adjective phrases in the following list of word sequences:
- thank you said Jim
- Janet ran home
- the poor injured duck
- a shivering and frightened
- give me that
- with a heavy bag
If you would like the answer, read on.
I'll give you the bottom line up top: it is impossible to find three adjective phrases in the list, whether you use modern definitions, or traditional definitions, or the bungled definitions in the book I took the above exercise from (Pupil Book 4 in the Nelson Grammar series, by Wendy Wren, published by Thomas Nelson, now Nelson Thornes Ltd in the UK; ISBN 0-17-424706-0). The book said that "Three of the examples [above] are adjective phrases and three are sentences" and told the pupil to "Find the three adjective phrases" and write out the sentences with correct punctuation and do various other things.
1."Thank you," said Jim is a declarative clause, though not a canonical one (it exemplifies quotative inversion, a construction that pops the subject at the end; The New Yorker resolutely refuses to employ this no matter how acute the stylistic need for it). It has nothing to mark it as subordinate, so it can also count as a sentence.
2. Janet ran home is a canonical declarative simple intransitive clause, hence also a sentence.
3.The poor injured duck is the spanner in the works. It would be called a noun phrase in modern terms. But traditional grammar didn't really have the notion of a noun phrase, and would have treated this as a noun with two adjectives and a definite article dependent upon it. But what is clear is that nobody could call it an adjective phrase under any definition. In modern terms, an adjective phrase is a head adjective together with any complements it might take and any modifiers that might be modifying it (a phrase like so nice to her or sufficiently proud of our athletes or extremely large or large enough to put it in, where I underline the head adjective). Complements follow the head. If there is no complement, an adjective phrase can typically be used as an attributive modifier, as in an extremely large building. Most adjective phrases can also be used as postpositive modifiers, as in anyone sufficiently proud of our athletes. In traditional terms, in an unfortunate confusion of function and category, a phrase is called an adjective phrase if and only if it modifies a noun. The book we are discussing uses a version of that definition. But the poor injured duck does not satisfy it. The phrase cannot modify a noun. Examples like An extremely large balloon floated past and Any bucket large enough to put it in would be all right or He seems so nice to her are grammatical, but examples like *A the poor injured duck balloon floated past or *Any bucket the poor injured duck would be all right or *He seems the poor injured duck are not. In the case of the poor injured duck, then, the sequence given is neither an adjective phrase nor a sentence, and we already know that the exercise is impossible.
4.With a shivering and frightened we encounter a word sequence that is not a phrase at all under any modern definition, because it does not serve as a unit. The first word is the indefinite article, and it does not form a constituent together with the coordination of adjectives that follows. That is why you cannot put the whole sequence in a postpositive context: *Anyone a shivering and frightened should see the doctor or after seem (*He seems a shivering and frightened). But under the book's very loose definition, "A phrase is a group of words that does not contain a verb", this would count as an adjective phrase, because it modifies a noun, which means we have found the first of the three we seek in our doomed quest.
5.We now move on to Give me that, which is clearly an imperative clause, hence also a sentence. (We now have all three sentences: (1), (2), and (5).)
6.The last word sequence given is with a heavy bag. Under modern conceptions, given that with is a preposition and a heavy bag is its complement, this is a preposition phrase. But under traditional definitions, and the one in this book, recall that it is an adjective phrase if and only if it modifies a noun. Well, when we consider it on its own, it has no noun to modify, so the definition either doesn't apply or says it isn't one (this is part of what is so silly about definitions of phrase types based on what they might do in particular syntactic contexts). But since it can modify a noun (lady with a heavy bag), and it can also modify a verb (walk with a heavy bag), it can be said to meet the definition of both an adjective phrase and an adverb phrase, under the traditional definition (which really should have been abandoned more than a century ago, and is never employed by modern grammarians). So under the traditional conception this can be called an adjective phrase, and we have found our second one.
But that's it. So the answer is that there is no answer. No one can find three adjective phrases in the list given, under any known definition.
Good luck if your kid is told to do this impossible homework.
And good luck if you have found yourself a nice job doing inaccurate peddling of inadequate centuries-old grammatical analysis and passing it off on educational authorities as sensible stuff to base lessons on.
One other thing. Today it was announced that in England it is no longer going to be legal to have your kid opt out of obligatory sex education. All I can say about that is that if sex were taught as incompetently as grammar is taught in the schools… But let's not even go there.