October 25, 2020

40+ Likely Grammatical Name (Past) Questions and Answers

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The below questions and answers on grammatical name and function will show you how to provide the most suitable answers in this section of your WAEC/WASSCE/SSSCE and GCE English Language Comprehension paper.

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We are going to provide answers to each one of  the items according to the below question that WAEC repeats almost every year.

Make sure to leave any specific grammatical name question you urgently need an answer for in the comment box at the bottom of this post. I will give you the answer without delay.

The question is in two parts.

  • What grammatical name is given to this expression as it is used in the passage?
  • What is its function?

Definition of “Grammatical Name”

Below is a working definition of the term, “grammatical name”.

Grammatical name is the name given to a word or group of words depending on its function and structure in a given clause or sentence.

Whenever it is a single word, your WASSCE question in this section typically asks you to state the PART OF SPEECH of the word in question.

It is usually underlined in the comprehension passage. In this case, you will have to state if the underlined word is a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, conjunction or preposition.

On the other hand, where it is a group of words, the regular WASSCE comprehension question here is expected to ask for the GRAMMATICAL NAME for the expression.

Over here too, you will have to be able to perform two separate tasks in order to get your answer correct.

First, you must ascertain whether the group of words is a PHRASE or a CLAUSE.

Secondly, you must be clear in your mind if that phrase or clause is adjectival, adverbial or nominal/noun in its function.

Definition of “Grammatical Function”

Grammatical function refers to the syntactic role a word or group of words is performing within a given clause or sentence.

Please note that without any reference to the sentence (the context), you will find it difficult (if not impossible) to identify both the grammatical name and function of a word or expression.

Thus, grammatical function is all about the behaviour of a word or group of words in relation to others in a given clause or sentence.

What I’m saying is this: Avoid the habit of taking the underlined word or group of words in isolation and then struggling to get what its grammatical name and/or function are/is.

You will find further explanation on the challenging topic of grammatical name and function in the following articles and tutorials.

The Grammatical Functions of a Noun Phrase

3 Determiners that Tell You a Group of Words is Most Likely a Noun Phrase

25 Examples of the Noun Clause Introduced by What/Whatever

How to Easily Spot a Noun Phrase in a Sentence

Grammatical Name and Functions of Pronouns

Grammatical Name and Functions of Prepositions

In case you want more on this matter, there is a complete course here that you can take in the comfort of your home to, once and for all, understand grammatical names and functions of English words and expressions.

Please note that the part of each sentence which is in bold lettering is what we are interested in.

Are you ready? Let’s do serious grammar business then!

Questions and Answers

1. When they talked or swore, their minds showed a bright pink. NOVEMBER 2014.

Grammatical Name (GN): Adverbial Clause of Time

Function (F): It is modifying the verb, “showed”.

2. Not long after the government’s official proclamation newspaper reporters had a field day. JUNE 2015.

GN: Adverbial Phrase

F: It is modifying the verb, “had”.

3. They needed to buy saucepans and pieces of cloth to prepare for marriage when they returned home. JUNE 2013.

GN: Adverbial Clause

F: It is modifying the verb, “prepare”.

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4. People who speak the same language feel related to one another. NOVEMBER 2009.

GN: Adjectival Clause

F: It is qualifying the noun, “people”.

5. Here he was, inviting contributions on an issue that was not on the agenda. NOVEMBER 2009.

GN: Adjectival Clause

F: It is qualifying the noun phrase, “an issue”.

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6. In the waiting room, he met other applicants for the interview, which had been slated for 9:00am. NOVEMBER 2015.

GN: Adjectival Clause/Non-defining Relative Clause

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7. In Niger, for example, the absence of wetlands has forced the men to break new ground with a fish farming technique which is proving very successful. NOVEMBER 2005.

GN: Noun Phrase

F: It is subject of the verb phrase, “has forced” (or the verb, “forced”).

8. What you put in your mouth can change your mood, alertness, memory and clarity of thought. NOVEMBER 1999.

GN: Noun Clause

F: It is subject of the verb phrase, “can change” (or the verb, “change”)

9. But you have made a sad mistake and must suffer the consequences. NOVEMBER 1999.

GN: Noun Phrase

F: It is object of the verb phrase, “have made” (or the verb, “made”)

10. Akua was already there, desperately hurling through a window whatever she thought could be salvaged from the pool she stood in. PART OF SPEECH JULY 2003.

GN: Adverb

F: It is modifying the verb, “was”.

11. Although the child’s parents are his earliest and most important models, he is exposed to many other potent influences: siblings, television, school, celebrities and so on. JUNE 2008.

GN: Adverbial Clause (of concession)

F: It is modifying the verb phrase, “is exposed” .(or the verb, “exposed”)

How to Identify 10 Types of the Adverbial Clause

The Difference Between a Phrase and a Clause

12. This reminded me of another father I came across many years ago. JUNE 2008.

GN: Adjectival Clause (or Zero Relative Clause: Note that the relative pronoun, WHOM/WHO, introducing this clause is omitted. It should have come just after “father” and before “I”)

F: It is qualifying the noun phrase, “another father” (or noun, “father”).

13. He was not a hard-hearted man who would cherish denying a man in distress a favour but the deplorable condition his car was in made him behave that way. JULY 2004.

GN: Noun Clause (or infinitive -ing clause)

F: It is object of the verb, “cherish” (or verb phrase, “would cherish”)

14. Perhaps no other historical figure exhibited this leadership characteristic better than Richard the Lionheart, the twelfth century English King, who always led his army personally into battles, always maintaining the front position. NOVEMBER 1998.

GN: Adverbial Phrase

F: It is modifying the verb, “led”.

15. I only steeled myself for the rebuke from Mr. Nyamekye who never countenanced ill-prepared papers such as the one I had written. NOVEMBER 1998.

GN: Adjectival Clause

F: It is qualifying the noun, Mr. Nyamekye.

16. The community centre was brimful of expectant citizens when the chief came in. NOVEMBER 2002.

GN: Noun Phrase

F: It is subject of the verb “was”.

17. As she had done on previous occasions, she got out, stood by her car, and donned her poor-defenceless-woman look. PART OF SPEECH. GCE JUNE 1997.

GN: Adjective

F: It is qualifying the noun, “look”. (Note that the word, “look” as used in the above sentence is a noun and not a verb.)

18. Then she turned round to the elders and chuckled in spite of herself and her smarting face. GRAMMATICAL NAME. YES. GCE JUNE 1997.

GN: Adjective

F: It is qualifying the noun, “face”.

19. There was an unknown woman, Madame Legros, who ran a small tailoring shop, in France during the French Revolution. NOVEMBER 2001.

GN: Adjectival Clause (or Non-defining relative clause)

F: It is qualifying the noun, “Madame Legros”.

6 Comprehension Past Questions and Answers

20. In addition to this false sense of well-being, the poor who eventually find  their way up the financial ladder do not read enough to utilize the health information available in the media and other sources of information to help them adopt a healthier lifestyle. NOVEMBER 2001.

GN: Adjectival Clause

F: It is qualifying the noun phrase, “the poor”.

21. Although some people like talking about the “good old days”, few are ready to give up the many time-and-labour-saving devices that they have come to take for granted. GRAMMATICAL NAME GCE JUNE 1996.

GN: Adjective

F: It is qualifying the noun, “devices”.

22. Here, that truth is that a victim can tolerate the person who actively inflicts an injury on him quite readily, but finds it much more difficult to forgive the bystander who encourages that offender to carry on inflicting his misdeed. GRAMMATICAL NAME AND FUNCTION, GCE JUNE 1998.

GN: Relative Pronoun

F: It is introducing the adjectival clause (or relative clause) “who encourages that offender”

23. Apart from his two new cassocks, Father John owned hardly anything to write home about. GRAMMATICAL NAME AND FUNCTION, GCE JUNE 1998.

GN: Noun Phrase

F: It is object of the verb, “owned”.

24. Yet, it is the only organ that never really rests. JUNE 2013.

GN: Adjectival Clause

F: It is qualifying the noun, “organ” (or the noun phrase, “the only organ”).

25. It was in that room that I met, for the first time, the commander who was to me an independent ally.

GN. Adjectival Clause

F. It is qualifying the noun, “commander”.

26. He pronounced a curse against moving his bones.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is the object of the verb, “pronounced”

27. They heard a brief strange noise from the room behind them.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is the object of the verb, “heard”.

28. I’ve already asked her to show them where it is weighed.

GN. Noun Clause

F. It is the object of the verb, “show”.

29. Kindly place it where it is weighed.

GN. Adverbial Clause (of place)

F. It is modifying the verb, “place”.

30. The affluent of past decades would marvel at the sheer volumes of money today’s rich people have.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is the subject of the verb, “marvel” (or of the verb phrase, “would marvel”).

31. She sidestepped the less important ideas.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is the object of the verb, “sidestepped”.

32. Those little children in the house need our care and attention.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is the subject of the verb, “need”. (In other words, it is the subject of the sentence)

33. The regulation of the earth’s temperature remains one key function of the oceans.

GN. Noun Phrase

   F. It is the subject of the verb, “remains”.

34. That definitely is a threat to our environment.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is a complement to the verb, “is”

35. Using words to express ideas was not a recent development in the history of human communication.

GN. Noun Clause LINK TO GRAMMAT NAME COURSE

F. It is the subject of the verb, “was”

36. Before I could recover from the shock, she landed a second blow on  the other side of my face.

GN. Adverbial Clause (of time)

F. It is modifying the verb, “landed”.

37. We would sit there, watching the men who had come to beg for favours.

GN. Adjectival Clause

F. It is qualifying the noun, “men”.

38. Foreigners who speak the same language bond together quite easily.

GN. Adjectival Clause

F. It is qualifying the noun, “foreigners”

39. We never thought that he would agree to run the state.

GN. Noun Clause

F. It is the object of the verb, “thought”.

40. It is becoming increasingly clear that if care is not taken, something terrible may happen before she leaves office.

GN. Adverbial Clause (of condition)

F. It is modifying the verb, “happen”. (or the verb phrase, “may happen”)

41. If my mother had had more money she would have assisted me.

GN. Adverbial Clause (of Condition)

F. It is modifying the verb, “assisted” (or the verb phrase, “would have assisted”)

42. If you read you would pass.

GN. Adverbial Clause (of condition)

F. It is modifying the verb, “pass”.

43. It was the most devastating moment for the entire troop.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is the complement of the verb, “was”.

44. If society could be understood at all it would happen in later years.

GN. Adverbial Clause of Condition

F. It is modifying the verb, “happen” (or the verb phrase, “would happen”).

45. It raised an instant alarm.

GN. Noun Phrase

F. It is the object of the verb, “raised”.

46. The materials last for ages when they are used properly.

GN. Adverbial Clause

F. It is modifying the verb, “last”.

47. Using words to express ideas is a primary function of language.

GN. Noun Clause (ing-infinitive nominal clause)

F. It is the subject of the verb, “is”. (or subject of the sentence).

48. They finally agreed to send him to the native doctor who alone knew how to cure lunatics.

GN. Adjectival Clause

F. It is qualifying the noun phrase, “native doctor”.

49. This disease will soon disappear like a miracle.

GN/Part of Speech: Adjective

F. It is qualifying the noun, “disease”.

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Source: The West African Examinations Council Past Question Papers and others

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Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

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