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ISL 4 Experienced writers use a variety of sentences to make their writing interesting and lively.

Too many simple sentences, for example, will sound choppy and immature while too many long sentences will be difficult to read and hard to understand. This page contains definitions of simple, compound, and complex sentences with many simple examples. The purpose of these examples is to help the ESL/EFL learner to identify sentence basics including identification of sentences in the short quizzes that follow. After that, it will be possible to analyze more complex sentences varieties. SIMPLE SENTENCE A simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought. In the following simple sentences, subjects are in yellow, and verbs are in green.

A. Some students like to study in the mornings. B. Juan and Arturo play football every afternoon. C. Alicia goes to the library and studies every day. The three examples above are all simple sentences. Note that sentence B contains a compound subject, and sentence C contains a compound verb. Simple sentences, therefore, contain a subject and verb and express a complete thought, but they can also contain a compound subjects or verbs. COMPOUND SENTENCE A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinator. The coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. (Helpful hint: The first letter of each of the coordinators spells FANBOYS.) Except for very short sentences, coordinators are always preceded by a comma. In the following compound sentences, subjects are in yellow, verbs are in green, and the coordinators and the commas that precede them are in red.

A. I tried to speak Spanish, and my friend tried to speak English. B. Alejandro played football, so Maria went shopping. C. Alejandro played football, for Maria went shopping.

The above three sentences are compound sentences. Each sentence contains two independent clauses, and they are joined by a coordinator with a comma preceding it. Note how the conscious use of coordinators can change the relationship between the clauses. Sentences B and C, for example, are identical except for the coordinators. In sentence B, which action occurred first? Obviously, "Alejandro played football" first, and as a consequence, "Maria went shopping. In sentence C, "Maria went shopping" first. In sentence C, "Alejandro played football" because, possibly, he didn't have anything else to do, for or because "Maria went shopping." How can the use of other coordinators change the relationship between the two clauses? What implications would the use of "yet" or "but" have on the meaning of the sentence? COMPLEX SENTENCE A complex sentence has an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or when or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which. In the following complex sentences, subjects are in yellow, verbs are in green, and the subordinators and their commas (when required) are in red.

A. When he handed in his homework, he forgot to give the teacher the last page. B. The teacher returned the homework after she noticed the error. C. The students are studying because they have a test tomorrow. D. After they finished studying, Juan and Maria went to the movies. E. Juan and Maria went to the movies after they finished studying. When a complex sentence begins with a subordinator such as sentences A and D, a comma is required at the end of the dependent clause. When the independent clause begins the sentence with subordinators in the middle as in sentences B, C, and E, no comma is required. If a comma is placed before the subordinators in sentences B, C, and E, it is wrong. Note that sentences D and E are the same except sentence D begins with the dependent clause which is followed by a comma, and sentence E begins with the independent clause which contains no comma. The comma after the dependent clause in sentence D is required, and experienced listeners of English will often hear a slight pause there. In sentence E, however, there will be no pause when the independent clause begins the sentence.

COMPLEX SENTENCES / ADJECTIVE CLAUSES Finally, sentences containing adjective clauses (or dependent clauses) are also complex because they contain an independent clause and a dependent clause. The subjects, verbs, and subordinators are marked the same as in the previous sentences, and in these sentences, the independent clauses are also underlined.

A. The woman who(m) my mom talked to sells cosmetics. B. The book that Jonathan read is on the shelf. C. The house which AbrahAM Lincoln was born in is still standing. D. The town where I grew up is in the United States. Adjective Clauses are studied in this site separately, but for now it is important to know that sentences containing adjective clauses are complex.

Phonetics vs. Phonology

1. Phonetics vs. phonology Phonetics deals with the production of speech sounds by humans, often without prior knowledge of the language being spoken. Phonology is about patterns of sounds, especially different patterns of sounds in different languages, or within each language, different patterns of sounds in different positions in words etc. 2. Phonology as grammar of phonetic patterns

The consonant cluster /st/ is OK at the beginning, middle or end of words in English. At beginnings of words, /str/ is OK in English, but /ftr/ or / tr/ are not (they are ungrammatical). / tr/ is OK in the middle of words, however, e.g. in "ashtray". / tr/ is OK at the beginnings of words in German, though, and /ftr/ is OK word-initially in Russian, but not in English or German.

3. A given sound have a different function or status in the sound patterns of different languages For example, the glottal stop [ ] occurs in both English and Arabic BUT ... In English, at the beginning of a word, [ ] is a just way of beginning vowels, and does not occur with consonants. In the middle or at the end of a word, [ ] is one possible pronunciation of /t/ in e.g. "pat" [pa ]. In Arabic, / / is a consonant sound like any other (/k/, /t/ or whatever): [ ktib] "write!", [da i a] "minute (time)", [ a ] "right". 4. Phonemes and allophones, or sounds and their variants The vowels in the English words "cool", "whose" and "moon" are all similar but slightly different. They are three variants or allophones of the /u/ phoneme. The different variants are dependent on the different contexts in which they occur. Likewise, the consonant phoneme /k/ has different variant pronunciations in different contexts. Compare:

keep cart coot seek scoop

/kip/ /k t/ /kut/ /sik/ /skup/

The place of articulation is fronter in the mouth The place of articulation is not so front in the mouth The place of articulation is backer, and the lips are rounded There is less aspiration than in initial position There is no aspiration after /s/

[k+h] [kh] [khw] [k`] [k]

These are all examples of variants according to position (contextual variants). There are also variants between speakers and dialects. For example, "toad" may be pronounced [tUd] in highregister RP, [toUd] or [to d] in the North. All of them are different pronunciations of the same sequence of phonemes. But these differences can lead to confusion: [toUd] is "toad" in one dialect, but may be "told" in another. 5. Phonological systems Phonology is not just (or even mainly) concerned with categories or objects (such as consonants, vowels, phonemes, allophones, etc.) but is also crucially about relations. For example, the English stops and fricatives can be grouped into related pairs which differ in voicing and (for the stops) aspiration:

Voiceless/aspira ted Voiced/unaspira ted




f v

s z

h (unpaire d)

Patterns lead to expectations: we expect the voiceless fricative [h] to be paired with a voiced [ ], but we do not find this sound as a distinctive phoneme in English. And in fact /h/ functions differently from the other voiceless fricatives (it has a different distribution in words etc.) So even though [h] is phonetically classed as a voiceless fricative, it is phonologically quite different from /f/, /s/, / / and / /. Different patterns are found in other languages. In Classical Greek a three-way distinction was made between stops:

Voiceless/aspirated Voiced/unaspirated Voiced (and unaspirated)

ph p b

th t d

kh k

In Hindi-Urdu a four-way pattern is found, at five places of articulation:

Voiceless aspirated Voiceless unaspirated Voiced unaspirated Breathy voiced ("voiced aspirates")

ph p b b

th t d d

ch c

kh k

etc. etc.

6. Shapes of vowel systems: some common examples:

Triangular: (e.g. Arabic)

3 vowels

Triangular: 5 vowels (e.g. Japanese)

i a 6 vowels

i e Triangular: (e.g. Italian) i e a 7 vowels

u o

Triangular: (e.g. Tbatulabal) i e

u o a 6 vowels

u o a 6 vowels u o

Triangular: (e.g. Bulgarian) i e

Rectangular: (e.g. Montenegrin) u i o e a

How many degrees of vowel height are there in Bulgarian? On the face of things, it appears to be not very different from Tbatulabal, which has three heights: three high vowels, two mid vowels and one low vowel. But if we look more closely into Bulgarian phonology, we see that the fact that schwa is similar in height to /e/ and /o/ is coincidental: the distinction that matters in Bulgarian is /i/ vs. /e/, /u/ vs. /o/ and / / vs. /a/, i.e. relatively high vs. relatively low. As evidence for this statement, note that while all six vowels may occur in stressed syllables, only /i/, /e/, / / and /u/ occur in unstressed syllables. 7. Phonology as interpretation of phonetic patterns: Fang (Bantu: Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea)

Fang 1) etf 2) v bi, 3) ndv ( ) 4) kf -l


English shoulder

Fang English 7) t m branch

v -bi hippopotamus 8) bik q back teeth dam 9) el n water tortoise tortoise 10) 11) t f q bag neck salt rope


6) k l

12) os n squirrel