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Grammar of English
Practice Exam (40 points total)
Part 1. (3 points) Classify each of the highlighted words in the following sentences
according to part of speech (Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb, Preposition, Determiner,
Coordinator, or Subordinator) using the space provided in the table below. Also give
one piece of morphological evidence (either inflectional or derivational) or one piece
of syntactic evidence to support your answer. If you provide morphological evidence
identify whether it is inflectional or derivational.
He wore a daggy pair of pants.
Building the new extension was bloody hard yakka.
The old cow-cockie who caught us on his property told us to nick off.
We wagged Physics so we could get our gear ready for the formal.
Word Part of
Morphological (Inflectional or Derivational)
or Syntactic Evidence
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Parts 2 and 3 are based on the text below.
Making mischief on mischief-makers
by Red Symons The Age Tuesday, October 7, 2003
I have recently witnessed a peculiar piece of
theatre. A more responsible person would have
contacted the police or the aggrieved party.
If the television program called
Crimestoppers was renamed Chrimespotters and
concentrated on long and flattering profiles of the
informant then, perhaps, I would have acted
Since it was the theatre of the crime that intrigued
me, and since I am essentially an amoral person, I
chose to give myself a role in the little morality
play, rather than bring the production to an
There’s a little street, a streetlet, almost a lane,
behind my shed. The lane mostly comprises back
fences, because only my shed and a couple of
others have their front entrances on this lane.
There is one large door about halfway along the
lane and this door belongs to the supermarket that
is in the next street.
One of the inconveniences of living behind a
convenience store is that large trucks reverse into
the store’s back entrance. The beeping of
reversing trucks is not just annoying, it’s also
superfluous when the street is so narrow as to
barely accommodate them. Much sleep has been
lost that we may consume shrink-wrapped
cheese, cut-price smokes and cat food so lavishly
prepared that you could offer it as canapés at a
On a recent morning, I went out into the lane
to test the air and greet the day. Emerging from
my cave, I did what all sentient beings have done
for millennia. I extended my limbs, looked to the
heavens and filled my lungs. Prepared now for
the day’s hunt, I looked left and right.
The advantage of living in a lane is that you
can promenade while looking fairly shabby, safe
in the knowledge that no one will take offence at
the torn T-shirt and the grubby and bulbous
tracksuit pants that stand between you and a
As I looked down the lane in the direction of
the supermarket delivery door, I noticed
something rather strange. Glittering objects were
being launched into the air from behind the fence
and falling into the middle of the lane. This
seemed pretty irresponsible to me. Since we put
up with industrial waste trucks groaning down the
lane to collect rubbish from the supermarket, it
seemed unreasonable for those running the
supermarket to have a little extra tidy up by just
throwing their junk over the fence.
Full of moral indignation that involved no
actual confrontation with a human being, I
marched down the lane to take stock. In my mind,
I was loudly declaiming this appalling behaviour
and, to be honest, there was also an image in my
mind of the culprit cowering, whites showing
below his pupils as he stared up at me,
apologetically grovelling. I was major for a
As I got closer, the glittering objects, as long
as a loaf of bread, continued to rain over the
fence and into the lane. I realised that they were
cartons of cigarettes.
My sleuth-like sensibilities suggested to me
that the flingers were not the owners of the
supermarket, bored with their trade. There was
mischief afoot. There is probably very little in a
supermarket that compares with cigarettes for
dollar-per-cubic-metre, and this country was
founded on the proposition that you might as well
be transported for a sheep as a lamb. Some
mysterious villain had found the storeroom at the
back of the supermarket and, rather than stuffing
cartons down their pants — an attractive but
improbable look — had opted to relocate them
into no man’s land for a later pick-up.
So, here I am, standing in a lane surrounded
by some hundreds of dollars worth of cigarettes
and the rain of pelf suddenly stops. Drawing once
again on my Sherlockish Holmesian powers of
observation, I deduced that the robbers would not
wait until nightfall, about 10 or 12 hours hence,
to collect their booty. Since they were no longer
in the throwing phase of their enterprise, they
must be about to embark on the collecting phase.
I further reasoned that standing next to the
stolen goods had very few positives to it, no
matter who came down the lane. What I decided
to do next was, I believe, the most sensible, the
most moral and the most comical response to the
I executed my plan and scurried back to my
place and a safe vantage point to watch the show.
Predictably, a bet-up sedan came careering
around the corner and screeched to a halt at the
rear of the supermarket. A gentleman dressed as a
criminal got out and was puzzled to find a single
carton on the road. He looked around, unable to
solve the mystery, then sped off with the carton.
I had thrown all but one of the cigarette
cartons back over the fence.
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Part 2. (3 points) Identify the following phrases and those embedded within them, in
terms of function (eg. head, modifier, determiner) and lexical/phrasal category (eg.
NP, AdjP, AdvP).
Example: too quickly for comfort.
M:AdvP H:Adv M:PP
H:Adv quickly H:Prep Comp:NP
too for H:N
a. the most comical response to the situation
b. industrial waste trucks
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Part 3. (6 points) Using appropriate grammatical terminology discuss the difference
between the following (i) and (ii) pairs which are based on sentences from the text.
a. i. The beeping of reversing trucks is not just annoying, it’s also superfluous when
the street is so narrow as to barely accommodate them.
ii. The beeping of reversing trucks is not just annoying, the beeping’s also
superfluous when the street is so narrow as to barely accommodate them.
b. i. There was mischief afoot.
ii. What mischief was afoot.
c. i. I had thrown all but one of the cigarette cartons back over the fence.
ii. I threw all but one of the cigarette cartons back over the fence.
d. i. Predictably, a beat-up sedan came careering around the corner and screeched to
a halt at the rear of the supermarket.
ii. A beat-up sedan came careering around the corner and abruptly screeched to a
halt at the rear of the supermarket.
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Part 4. (8 points) A copywriter going berko might have written the following
The extraordinary new Hokey Power Supa Sucka has eliminated conventional
brushes. The revolutionary result is truly earthmoving. This latest advance in
vacuuming technology is a light, compact, easy-to-use sweeper. The Hokey
Power Supa Sucka picks up everything. Not a hair or an AA battery will be left
behind. It gives you this amazing performance without electricity. You can use it
almost anywhere! With eight continuous spiral squeegee-like flexible rubber
blades, self-cleaning and with textured edges, the Hokey Power Supa Sucka
cleans any household surface.
adapted from Macquarie School Dictionary, pp. 1099-1100
The advertisement has been given sentence by sentence below. For each sentence:
• divide the sentence into constituents,
• give the category (NP, Ve, AdjP, AdvP or PP) and function (S (subject), P
(predicator), PCs (subject predicative complement), PCo (object predicative
complement), O (object), Od (direct object), Oi (indirect object), Ca (any other
complement), A (adjunct/adverbial) of each constituent, and
• where appropriate, identify the basic clause pattern (intransitive, transitive,
copula / complex-intransitive, di-transitive, or complex-transitive).
a. The extraordinary new Hokey Power Supa Sucka has eliminated conventional
b. The revolutionary result is truly earthmoving.
c. This latest advance in vacuuming technology is a light, compact, easy-to-use
d. The Hokey Power Supa Sucka picks up everything.
e. Not a hair or an AA battery will be left behind.
f. It gives you this amazing performance without electricity.
g. You can use it almost anywhere!
h. With eight continuous spiral squeegee-like flexible rubber blades, self-cleaning
and with textured edges, the Hokey Power Supa Sucka cleans any household
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Part 5. (5 points) Consider these interrogatives and negative statements, which appear
in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
a. What mean’st thou by that?
b. What means this shouting?
c. Why stare you so?
d. Think you to walk forth?
e. Comes his army on?
f. Knew you not Pompey?
g. Forget not in your speed.
h. Fear him not, Caesar.
i. I know not what you mean by that.
• Determine in what respect interrogatives are different in modern English.
• Determine in what respect negative statements are different in modern English.
• Make a more general statement about interrogatives and negative statements in
Shakespeare’s time compared with modern English.
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Part 6. (9 points) Consider the following extract from ‘The Letter’ by Sally
Morgan (In Paperbark. 1990. J. Davis (ed.). University of Queensland Press,
St Lucia, Queensland. pp 1-3.).
They took you away when I was twenty. Mr Neville from the Aborigines Protection
Board said it was the best thing. He said that black mothers like me weren’t allowed
to keep babies like you. He didn’t want you brought up as one of our people. I didn’t
want to let you go but I didn’t have any choice. That was the law.
I started looking for you when I was thirty. No-one would tell me where you’d
gone. It was all a big secret. I heard they’d changed your last name, but I didn’t
know what your new name was. I went and saw Mr Neville and told him I wanted to
visit you. That was when I found out that you’d been adopted by a white family. You
thought you were white. Mr Neville said I’d only hurt you by trying to find you.
When you get this letter I will be gone, but you will have the special things in my tin.
Each of the highlighted sentences has been given below. For each sentence:
• identify each subordinate clause by putting square brackets () around the clause and
underlining the subordinator, and
• classify the clause according to:
finite: relative clause
nonfinite: infinitival clause
function: subject, object, subjective predicative, objective predicative,
adverbial/adjunct, post-head dependent, complement.
Example: You have the right [to see the results of the study][if you wish].
Subord. Cl. 1:
clause type: nonfinite, infinitival clause
function: post-head dependent
Subord. Cl. 2:
clause type: finite, content clause
a. He said that black mothers like me weren’t allowed to keep babies like you.
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b. He didn’t want you brought up as one of our people.
c. No-one would tell me where you’d gone.
d. I heard they’d changed your last name, but I didn’t know what your new name
e. Mr Neville said I’d only hurt you by trying to find you.
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Part 7. (6 points) Consider each of the following texts. For each of the highlighted
sentences within the text:
• Identify the thematic structure of the sentence ((agentless) passive, subject
extraposition, internal complement extraposition, existential there, it-cleft, pseudocleft, dislocation, preposing (topicalisation/fronting), postposing, subject-auxiliary
inversion, subject-dependent inversion.
• Name the thematic factor(s) motivating the selection of the particular thematic
structure (end-focus, end-weight, topic) in (a).
• Provide a brief discussion of how the thematic structure given in (a) is motivated
by the thematic factor(s) in (b).
Text 1: from a Tasmanian honey tin
a. The honey from leatherwood nectar is characterised by a very distinctive spicy
aroma and a strong piquant flavour that is sought by connoisseurs of honey the
Text 2: from ‘The other Frog Prince’ by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith.
b. Once upon a time there was a frog.
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Text 3: from The Rainbow Serpent by Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Kabul Oodgeroo
c. But here now you fullas. You come sit down by my fire. Warm yourselves and I
will tell you the story of how this world began.
In the time of Alcheringa the land lay flat and cold. The world, she empty. The
Rainbow Serpent, she asleep under the ground with all the animal tribes in her
belly waiting to be born. When it her time, she push up.
She come out at the heart of my people -Uluru- Ayer’s Rock. She look round –
everywhere all dark. No light, no colour.
So she get very busy now. She throw the land out – make mountains and hills.
She call to her Frog Tribe to come up from their sleep and she scratch their
belly to make them laugh.
The water they store in the bad time spill over the land making rivers and lakes.
Then she throw good spirit Biami high in the sky. She tell him to help her find light.
Now Biami, he a real good fulla. He jump up high in the sky and smile down on
the land. The sky lit up from his smile and we, his children, saw colour and
And that warm sun spirit saw himself in the shining waters. The pine trees, they
burst into flower. That’s his way of telling us it’s time to hunt the big mullet fish.
And when the wild hop trees bloom, that’s his way to tell us the oysters are fat
on the shores of our great sea spirit, Quandamooka.