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Flying Fish
From Child-Story Readers: Wonder Stories  3
Analysis Key

      Note: Although this is a relatively long story for an exercise, most students should be able to finish it in ten minutes or less. It is word-for-word from the original.

How Much I Can Explain

     You might want to point out to students how many of the words they can already explain.
     There are 281 words in the text. If we 
1.) include all the adjectives, adverbs, and coordinating conjunctions,
2.) exclude the seventeen verbals and other words that remain in black in the following, and
3.) exclude the three subordinating conjunctions ("that," "When," and "When"), and
4.) assume that the students will get the two pronouns that function as subjects in subordinate clauses {"which are set," and  "which are not bigger,"
then 281 - 17 - 3 = 261. And 261 / 281 = 93 %!

1.     Certain fishes can fly. | You have thought [DO that birds and

insects are the only animals (PN) able to fly [#1] ]. | Flying [#2] fishes live

{in the ocean}. | They swim {near the surface} {of the water} {in large schools 

or companies}. |

2.      Sometimes {in sport}, sometimes to escape some enemy [#3], they 

spring {out of the water}, spread their fins (DO) and fly, skip, or sail 

{through the air}. | The flight {of a flying fish} ends {in a fall} {with a splash}. |

3.     [Adv. (time) to "look" When these fish are {in the air}], they look {like

large dragon flies} [#4]. | They are blue (PA) {on top} and silvery (PA)

underneath. | [Adv. to "spring" When a ship is passing {through a school} {of 

them} ] [#5] they spring up {into the air} {as grasshoppers} {in a meadow} [#6]. | 

You can hear the humming (DO) {of their long fins} [Adj. to "fins" which

are set (P) {like the wings} {of an airplane}]. | They often fly {across the deck}

{of a ship} [#5] | and the sailors catch them (DO) {with their caps}. |

4.     A flying fish has four fins (DO) coming [#7] {out of its shoulders}. | 

These fins look very strong (PA) and are almost as long (PA) {as the fish}. |

5.     Flying fishes lay their eggs (DO) {in the sea}. | The young fish [Adj.

to "fish" which are not bigger (PA) {than grasshoppers}], live {in the seaweed}

and dart {up and down the walks} {of the sea gardens}. | They live on [#8] small 

animals (DO) and smaller fish (DO) {of the sea}. |

6.     Flying fishes have many enemies (DO) {such as sharks, whales, and

other large fish} [#9] . | {In order} to escape these foes [#10] they have

developed the power (DO) to leave the water and sail [#11] {for a short 

distance} {through the air}. | It seems strange (PA) to think [#12] {of a fish

flying [#13] }, | but this is one (PN) (of the many ways} [Adj. to "ways"

Nature provides {for the protection} {of her creatures}]. |

1. Although "fly" functions as a verb here, it does not pass the "to" test and thus is not finite. [It is a verbal (infinitive) that functions as an adverb to the adjective "able." "Able" is a post-positioned adjective that modifies "animals." See KISS Level 5.5 - Post-Positioned Adjectives.
2. An argument can easily be made that "flying" is part of their name, so "flying fishes" can be explained as one word, in this case, the subject. By itself, "flying" is a verb, but here it clearly functions as an adjective modifying "fishes."  (KISS describes such pre-positioned verbal adjectives as regular adjectives.)
3. "Enemy" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to escape." The infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "spring," "spread," "fly," "skip," and "sail."  ("To escape" does not pass the "to" test.)
4. Alternatively, "look like" (= "resemble") can be considered the finite verb and "flies" the direct object. See KISS Level 2.1.5 - Phrasal Verbs (Preposition? Or Part of the Verb?).
5. Note that there is no comma in the original. The rules about commas in many textbooks are often ignored by professional writers.
6.  Alternatively, "as grasshoppers in a meadow" can be explained as an ellipsed adverbial clause --  "as grasshoppers in a meadow *spring up*." 
7.  "Four fins coming out of its shoulders" does not pass the sentence test, so "coming" is not a finite verb. (It is a gerundive that modifies "fins.")
8. Some students will mark "on small animals and smaller fish" as a prepositional phrase, but if we look at the meaning, this explanation suggests that they are parasites on the bodies of small animals and smaller fish." "Live on" here means "eat," so "live on" is best considered a phrasal verb. See KISS Level 2.1.5 - Phrasal Verbs (Preposition? Or Part of the Verb?).
9. If one sees this phrase as modifying "enemies," it is adjectival; if one sees it as modifying "many," it is adverbial.
10. "To escape" fails the "to" test. "Foes" is the direct object of the verbal (infinitive) "to escape." The infinitive phrase functions as an adjective to "order."
11. "To leave" and "sail" fail the "to" test. "Water" is the direct object of "to leave," and the two infinitive phrases function as adjectives to "power."
12. "To think" fails the "to" test. It is a verbal (infinitive) that functions as a delayed subject -- "To think of a flying fish seems strange." See KISS Level 5.6 - Delayed Subjects and Sentences.
13. "A fish flying" fails the sentence test. "Flying" is a verbal, a gerundive that functions as an adjective to "fish." (At KISS Level 5.8 - Noun Absolutes, some students will prefer to see "fish flying" as a noun absolute that functions as the object of the preposition "of.")