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I am trying to diagram this sentence for a personal project:

Everything I touch with tenderness pricks like a bramble.

From what I understand, Everything is the subject, and pricks is the predicate with like a bramble being an adverbial phrase modifying pricks. I cannot tell what I touch's place is in this all, however. I think it is modifying Everything, but I don't know how to classify it.

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    It's a relative clause: try analyzing it with "everything that I touch" instead, then just say the "that" is invisible. – Draconis Nov 1 '18 at 16:10
  • @Draconis, that should probably be an answer. – OmarL Nov 1 '18 at 16:32
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What's tripping you up is a relative clause with an "invisible relative adjective".

First, start with your outer sentence:

Everything pricks like a bramble.

Come up with a diagram of this, using whatever theory you prefer.

Now look at the first part again:

Everything [that] I touch with tenderness…

The relative clause seems to be a sentence of its own!

…I touch [that] with tenderness…

So this is a sentence (an S or a TP or an IP or whatever your theory calls it), embedded into an adjectival phrase, which modifies the noun "everything".

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  • Thank you! I could tell that it was complete and modifying Everything, but I just didn't really know how to describe it. I'll mark as the accepted answer! – Alecs Gavyn Nov 2 '18 at 13:55
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"I touch" is nothing, that is, it is not a unit of linguistic analysis. "I" is a subject / pronoun and "touch" is a verb"; the two words are part of a relative clause "I touch with tenderness". Actually, it is a sentence, which in this context functions as a relative clause. That relative clause is modifying something – the word "Everything".

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  • Hmmm. It's not a sentence. It has a gap in it! – Araucaria - him Nov 15 '18 at 18:26

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