"Just as expert carpenters must be thoroughly acquainted with the tools of their craft and artists must have expert knowledge of colors, so good writers must have a thorough understanding of the basic material with which they work: words."

The sentence above is from a book.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Cascabel, Phil Sweet, RegDwigнt Aug 7 '18 at 20:47

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    I'm not sure what you're actually asking. The summary of your question doesn't seem to match the body. Are you only asking if the passage you gave is in the passive voice? What is it about the passage that you can't make sense of? Is it the overall Just as X, so must Y construction? – Jason Bassford Aug 7 '18 at 20:03
  • I guess I'm asking multiple questions here. First is how do you know which subject goes with which verb when a sentence is long and complex? Is , the part, must be thoroughly acquainted, passive ? and how to understand passive sentences? – OKPositive7 Aug 7 '18 at 20:18
  • Is it possible to edit this question to only ask a single question—and then post new questions for the rest? It would make proving answers simpler. If you want to keep this one as identifying subjects and verbs, I could answer that piece here. – Jason Bassford Aug 7 '18 at 20:21
  • I fixed the title. – OKPositive7 Aug 7 '18 at 20:26
  • 1
    Please specify which subject exactly you think goes with exactly which verb, why exactly you think that, and why exactly you think that what you think is wrong. "I have identified X, but I think it could be Y because of reason Z" is an actual problem we can help you with. "I have not identified anything at all" is not a problem, and is also not true. Certainly you have some idea of what the sentence means. So tell us just that in your own words. Thanks. – RegDwigнt Aug 7 '18 at 20:54

Look through the sentence for all people, places, and things. Any of these that are meaningfully associated with an action word are regarded as subjects.

This particular complex sentence provides three subjects: carpenters, artists, and writers. Each of these subjects is paired with a verb: to be, to have, and to have.

The extra nouns (e.g. "tools") are not subjects of the sentence.

  • Ok, can you help me with the first part containing,must be thoroughly acquainted, is this a passive verb or an adjective? – OKPositive7 Aug 7 '18 at 20:41
  • 1
    It's an adjective. It can't be passive because there's no agent who is accustoming the carpenters to the tools of their craft; instead, they are in a state of being accustomed to (used to, familiar with) to their tools. You can't add an agent by-phrase to these sentence. By the way, there's a pied-piped relative clause in the last part: with which they work, and it has a subject they. The subject is the noun phrase that agrees with (and usually precedes) the first auxiliary verb in the clause. – John Lawler Aug 7 '18 at 20:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.