i love english language

clause analysis

November 30, 2008… extract…

Pity the poor (other) woman

The mistress is a reviled figure, as Gordon Ramsay’s bit on the side is finding out. Rachel Johnson, proud winner of the Bad Sex award, says let’s not rush to judgment

The nation’s richest chef, Gordon Ramsay, faces a hot and sticky Christmas this year. Everyone seems to agree that he has been a gold-plated Michelin-starred plonker to have been caught in flagrante with a hard-faced Welsh bird in leopardskin lingerie who describes herself as a professional mistress and is currently hawking an unusually explicit how-to guide called Having an Affair? A Handbook for the Other Woman.

 

Everyone agrees that it was unfortunate – given the sex claims that are levelled at him in connection with this Sarah J Symonds – for him to have waxed just a little too lyrical about his full, indeed very full, life with his wife, Tana, in life-style features every time he has a book to promote or a restaurant to open, which is all the time. So everyone naturally feels the pain of Tana, the mother of his four children, who has been handed the difficult role of Dignified Wife/Good Fairy in this lurid Yuletide pantomime.

 

And I do too. Feel for Tana, I mean. It must be bad enough finding out your husband’s been unfaithful, but to have the world gorging on fare from a classic redtop menu of headlines such as “A slapper-up meal” and “Cheat ’n’ two veg” is a made-for-TV Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare if ever there was one. And all thanks to a woman who has repaid your husband’s furtive attentions by, um, putting “a world-famous TV chef” into a guidebook about adultery. For sure, if I were Tana – a bestselling cookery writer herself, remember – I’d be creating a new, special dish of lapin bouillifor Gordon right now, instead of one of her famous Sunday roast lunches.

 

 

On Tuesday I was handed a huge plaster foot by the actor Dominic West, star of The Wire, at a thronged burlesque champagne ceremony underwritten by the lyricist Sir Tim Rice at the In and Out Club in St James’s Square. I was also embraced very warmly indeed by Nancy Dell’Olio, the one-time girlfriend (note: not mistress) of Sven-Göran Eriksson. This probably sounds quite exciting and jolly until I explain that the accolade means I was considered to have written the worst sex scene of the year for a passage in my satirical novel Shire Hell.

Clause analysis is always a feature of a full mark answer (either in the Production’s Commentary or in the Investigation)

 

What is clause analysis?

Example 1

 

Let’s take this sentence from the above article’s strap line:

 

Rachel Johnson, proud winner of the Bad Sex award, says let’s not rush to judgment.

 

·         Rachel Johnson,says let’s not rush to judgment =

 

…is a complex sentence, the main clause being Rachel Johnson says…, as in Rachel Johnson,says yes.

 

…leaving let’s not rush to judgment as the subordinate clause.

 

·         proud winner of the Bad Sex award = this part of the sentence has no verb, making it a phrase rather than a clause. This part of the above sentence is embedded within it – making it an embedded phrase or a parenthetic phrase. Also, as the phrase works as a noun in the sentence it is a noun phrase.

 

·         The first question is: why has the auhtor added this non-essentuial part of the sentence?

 

·         The second question is: why has the author put it in the middle of the sentence?

 

·         What is the difference between the original sentence and the other two possible structures?

 

  1. Let’s not rush to judgment, says Rachel Johnson, proud winner of the Bad Sex award.

 

  1. Proud winner of the Bad Sex award, Rachel Johnson says let’s not rush to judgment.

 

Fronting or Front Focus or Front Loading – is where a phrase or clause is placed at the start of the sentence whre it gets most of the reader’s attention.

 

End Focus – is where an author tags on a phrase or a clause at the end of a sentence where it will still attract more attention than if it is jammed in somewhere in the middle of the sentence. End focusing isn’t as strong as front focusing – phrases or clauses stand out more at the start of the sentence than at the end.

 

For every text you analyse you need to deconstruct at least one sentence in this manner and comment on the sentence structure.

Example 2

Everyone seems to agree that he has been a gold-plated Michelin-starred plonker to have been caught in flagrante with a hard-faced Welsh bird in leopardskin lingerie who describes herself as a professional mistress and is currently hawking an unusually explicit how-to guide called Having an Affair? A Handbook for the Other Woman.

 

…a fairly complicated sentence – how does it work?

Everyone seems to agree that he has been a gold-plated Michelin-starred plonker. – this is the essential base of the sentence. The rest is just tagged on at the end.

 

to have been caught in flagrante – a subordinate clause

with a hard-faced Welsh bird – a prepositional phrase

in leopardskin lingerie – a prepositional phrase

who describes herself as a professional mistress – a subirdinate clause (more specifically – a relative clause… one which starts with who, where, when, that), containing a prepositional phrase.

and is currently hawking an unusually explicit how-to guide called Having an Affair? A Handbook for the Other Woman – a coordinate clause

 

Once a sentence has been broken down into its components, it’s left to you to comment

a) on the phrases and subirdinate clauses added in &

b) on where they have been added in, either up front, tucked away inside, or tagged on at the end.

Example 3

 

Yes of course her story – as recounted in the News of the World with plenty of precise detail about sex shops, sex drugs, timings of couplings and so forth – is plain sleazy, even for the most voyeuristic readers.

 

 

 

Example 4

The nation’s richest chef, Gordon Ramsay, faces a hot and sticky Christmas this year.

 

 

Example 5

 

On Tuesday I was handed a huge plaster foot by the actor Dominic West, star of The Wire, at a thronged burlesque champagne ceremony underwritten by the lyricist Sir Tim Rice at the In and Out Club in St James’s Square.

 

 

 

Example 6

This probably sounds quite exciting and jolly until I explain that the accolade means I was considered to have written the worst sex scene of the year for a passage in my satirical novel Shire Hell.

 

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