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Functional classification of the constituents

The functional classification of the constituents of a sentence is based on their grammatical function in the sentence. The formal constituents can be found by changing word order and substituting words in the sentence. These formal constituents can have different functions:

Es hat den ganzen Tag geregnet. (question: wie lange?)
Das hat mir den ganzen Tag verdorben.  (question: wen oder was?)

In the first sentence, the accusative word group functions as a temporal adverbial. In the second sentence, it is an accusative object.

We distinguish the following constituents:

Predicate Der Lehrer gibt den Schülern ein Buch.
Subject Der Lehrer gibt den Schülern ein Buch.
      Accusative object Der Lehrer gibt den Schülern ein Buch.
      Dative object Der Lehrer gibt den Schülern ein Buch.
      Genitive object Wir bedürfen eurer Hilfe.
      Prepositional object  Er wartet auf seine Tochter.
Adverbial Er wartet am Bahnhof auf seine Tochter.

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