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Lately I have been having some trouble trying to find the subject-verb pair in long sentences.

For Example :

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. - MLK, Jr.

Breaking this sentence down, I can identify three parts:

I have a dream...

...that my four little children will one day live in a nation...

...where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have been able to identify that the 2nd and 3rd are dependent/subordinate clauses. Now identifying the subject-verb pairs :

I have a dream...

Subject : I

Verb : Have

...that my four little children will one day live in a nation...

Subject : My children

Verb : Will live or Just will ? or just live ?(Will is the helping verb ?).

Both One day and in an nation are describing the verb live ?

...where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Subject : they

Verb : will not be judged, just will, not be judged or judged ?

How can i identify verb in such situations ?

Also, what function is but playing here ? Ensuring parallelism in the last part of the phrase ?

Thanks.

closed as too broad by Jason Bassford, Davo, Glorfindel, M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ, Varun Nair Jan 9 at 13:10

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. 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.

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    You've raised a lot of issues about parsing clauses, including the complex matter of catenative constructions. I'd draw you a syntax tree, but there wouldn't be enough room for it! Suffice to say that "[they will [not be judged]]", for example, is not a single clause but two, as shown. – BillJ Jan 6 at 11:41
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Future tense in English is rather contrived with the help of the modals, SHALL and WILL without which the events cannot be distanced in future. The verbs after SHALL/WILL are infinitives without TO, a common occurrence after most of the modals. Better view the verb as Verb phrase in future tense.

  • Verb : Will live

  • Verb : will be judged ( "NOT"an adverb)("be" is intrigal to verb phrase in passive construction)

In other analysis , you are absolutely right.

BUT has nothing to do with parallelism in grammar. It is an adversative conjunction used to express contrast between the two statements. Of course, there is fine parallelism at the end and BUT as a conjunction plays its limited role.

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