Fun With Grammar!

Organic Mama and I were musing about this bumper sticker this afternoon. It took us quite a while to come up with the answer, but we finally came to a conclusion concerning what the subject and verb of this sentence are. Want to take a stab at it?



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10 responses to “Fun With Grammar!

  1. claudia

    OK, I’ll bite. “You look” ????????

  2. nhfalcon

    I was gonna go with “you” as the subject and “makes” as the verb. Yes? No? Maybe?

  3. Subject: Dubya
    Verb: Is a moron.

    Probably not exactly what you were going for, but it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy just writing it!

    Thanks for the comment on my blog…
    here’s the test. Take it, then I’ll share mine if you share yours!

    Let me know if that works.

  4. Nope – none of you has QUITE got it. Recognize that this is a HARD one; the verb is *relatively* easy to get at, but much analysis must be done to get at the subject. This is something that I wouldn’t give to my grammar class on a quiz – it took two Master’s holders more than five minutes to answer. We do this shit for a living, and it stumped us quite handily!

    Claudia, MY first response was exactly yours, but it didn’t quite sound right to me.

    Falcon, you’re closer, but notice that “you” and “makes” doesn’t agree.

    Snob, your answer, while certainly true in the real world, doesn’t exactly fit the sticker. (and thanks for the link – I’m off to take the test and I’ll get back to you!!)

    Do you want the answer as Organic Mama and I puzzled it out, or would you like a little more time to think about it? (and thanks for playing, you guys!)

  5. claudia

    I’d ask that you (please) don’t wait too long,as I don’t backtrack more than a few blogs to check for comments. Thanks for the game!


    The sentence in question is

    **”Slapping a yellow ribbon on the back of your gas-guzzling SUV during a war for oil makes you look like an asshole.” **

    The object was to find the subject and verb of the sentence.

    The SUBJECT of the sentence is “Slapping.” While that may SEEM like a verb, it is, in fact, a gerund – the “ing” form of a verb that acts as a noun. The gerund phrase “Slapping a yellow ribbon” is technically the complete subject – you can think of it as “the act of slapping” and shorten that even further to “it.”

    Next, we have a couple of prepositional phrases – “on the back of your gas-guzzling SUV” and “during a war for oil”. You can actually remove those from the sentence as neither of them contain verbs. NOW we come to the verb. “MAKES” We have “IT” – subject – (the act of slapping a ribbon) and “MAKES” – verb.

    “You” is the direct object of the transitive verb “makes” Ask yourself “it makes who or what” and the answer is “it makes YOU look like an asshole.” “look like an asshole” is an adjective phrase describing, of course, “you”.


  7. This morning, I wrote:

    “Falcon, you’re closer, but notice that “you” and “makes” doesn’t agree.”

    GAH!! It should say – “You” and “makes” DON’T agree. –

    It was early and I wasn’t quite awake yet. Sorry. Some grammar teacher *I* am, huh?

  8. I worked on it for quite a few minutes and got close, but not all the way there.

    You’ve got a few points on me. I received 122 (not bad for a college drop out, though) and was knighted “WORD WARRIOR”. Which means that I, too, suck at math. And ironically, we both married engineers (though mine is a communications/TV type, not numbers….)


  9. This is why I flunked grammar, but excelled at creative writing.

    My version: “(Implied ‘You’) Slapping…”

    Subject. Verb. Quiz solved.

    Grammar can be a bitch, but it’s much easier if you take Occam’s Razor to the throat of every English major in sight. 😀

    Thanks for the entertainment, Mrs. Chili. Contrary and I can’t wait to meet you in person.

  10. Pingback: Grammar Wednesday! « A Teacher’s Education

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