Clauses and Phrases

To understand punctuation, it is helpful to understand the difference between a phrase and a clause.

I. A phrase is a collection of words that may have nouns or verbals, but it does not have a subject doing a
verb. The following are examples of phrases:        leaving behind the dog smashing into a fence before the first test after the devastation between ignorance and intelligence broken into thousands of pieces because of her glittering smile

In these examples above, you will find nouns (dog, fence, test, devastation, ignorance, intelligence, thousands, pieces). You also have some verbals (leaving, smashing), but in no case is the noun functioning as a subject doing a predicate verb. They are all phrases.

II. A clause is a collection of words that has a subject that is actively doing a verb. The following are
examples of clauses:      since she laughs at diffident men I despise individuals of low character when the saints go marching in Obediah Simpson is uglier than a rabid raccoon because she smiled at him.

In the examples above, we find either a noun or a pronoun that is a subject (bold-print and red) attached to a predicate verb (underlined and purple) in each case:      since she laughs at diffident men I despise individuals of low character when the saints go marching in Obediah Simpson is uglier than a rabid raccoon because she smiled at him

III. If the clause could stand by itself, and form a complete sentence with punctuation, we call the clause
an independent clause. The following are independent clauses:   I despise individuals of low character Obediah Simpson is uglier than a rabid racoon

We could easily turn independent clauses into complete sentences by adding appropriate punctuation marks. We might say, "I despise individuals of low character." Or we might write, "Obediah Simpson is uglier than a rabid racoon!" We call them independent because these types of clauses can stand independently by themselves, without any extra words attached, and be complete sentences.

That subordinate conjunction means that the clause can't stand independently by itself and become a complete sentence. persuasive essay. Argumentative Essay. but they have a subordinate conjunction placed in front of the clause. A comparative table with these essay types will be posted at the end of the article to briefly outline similarities and differences in each of them (see Table 1). compare and contrast essay. The thought is incomplete. Before we proceed with analysis. Click here to move to subordinate conjunctions to learn more. with every essay serving its own purpose. Table 1. It's important to understand the difference between phrases. If you walked up to a friend in the dorms and said. the friend would be completely baffled. literary essay. "since she laughs at diffident men. the dependent clause is dependent upon another clause--it can't make a complete sentence by itself. Persuasive Essay. Dependent clauses have a subject doing a verb. Types of essay most which are most commonly used are: Expository Essay. research essay. the review. when. expository essay. The kinds of essays that are most commonly given to students include: expository essay. if not hundreds of essays on different topics. dependent clauses. it is important to remember a general rule: essays get their names according to the function they serve. expository essay. and because--cause the listener to expect some extra material. semicolons. Cause and Effect Essay. Typically this is attained via practice: writing skills develop as the result of assigning students dozens. and independent clauses because many punctuation marks--such as commas.IV. Essay Types The ability to write effectively is undoubtedly one of the critical skills that everyone has to acquire during school and later in college years. Instead. Comparative Table of the Main Essay Types Essay Type Expository Persuasive Informal Review Research Literary Argumentative Tone Objective Objective Subjective Objective/Subjective Objective Objective Objective Referencing Required Required Unnecessary Preferable Required Preferable Required Purpose Inform Persuade Communicate Analyze and Present Discover Analyze literature Prove a viewpoint . even though it has a subject doing a verb. Literary Essay. It is so easy to get lost in the multitude of different essay types that a closer look at them is a must. Here are some examples of dependent clauses:    since she laughs at diffident men when the saints go marching in because she smiled at him These clauses simply do not form complete thoughts or sentences by themselves. require one or the other." and then walked away without adding an independent clause. Those subordinate conjunctions--since. and colons. informal essay. argumentative essay. This article describes most of them. Compare and Contrast Essay. Informal Essay.

The Research Essay . preparation and background research will be required. Newspapers and popular magazines tend to review in terms of finance. This implies that the reviewer's personal opinion plays a significant role in the process. The informal essay tends to be more personal than the formal. You must be aware of other sides of the argument and be fair to them. expository essays will take about 5 paragraphs. you are no longer merely showing what you know. In order to write an expository essay. anticipating alternative arguments and finding ways how to refute them. explain or present some information. it is a less formal statement with a more relaxed expression of opinion. The Informal Essay The informal essay is a type of essay written mainly for enjoyment. The Review A review may be either formal or informal. though the structure may be less rigid than a formal paper. It is always best to take a side that you believe in. your assertions need to be proved. With this type of writing you will need not only to prove your point. making a case for it. is this record or film worth spending money on? Critical journals will attempt to determine whether a new novel or play has achieved something new and significant. an essay should at all times include an introduction and a conclusion – the body length may vary. Its goal is to evaluate a specific piece. while in an informal essay the writer is speaking directly to the reader in a conversational manner. e. Despite a degree of subjectivity. even though both may express subjective opinions. In this case. Do not worry about sounding academic. however. dismissing them completely will weaken your own argument. it can be used to describe. how much is summary. This will arm you with facts and information that will be subsequently conveyed to your reader. preferably with the most supporting evidence.g. This is not to say that it cannot be informative or persuasive. In order to write this kind of essay it is important to prepare in advance by choosing a side. but will also have to persuade your opposition that your viewpoint is logical and well founded. and thus – better. The Persuasive Essay If you have to persuade your reader about something. observation or humor. you are convincing the reader that you are correct in your viewpoint. classes and instructors may require them to be larger in size. a certain objective standard needs to be maintained and. In their most common form. or to acquaint your reader with something. as in a persuasive essay. In a formal essay the writer is in a silent presence behind the words. A more formal review will not only discuss the work or its own merits but will also place it in context. depending on the context.Cause and Effect Objective Required Establish relation The Expository Essay The main function of the expository essay is to explain. If you are writing informally. your essay becomes a persuasive one. The formality of the review will be determined by how much of the essay is analysis. however. but make sure you avoid sloppiness. and how much is your reaction to the work you are reviewing. A good review will discuss both these qualities and the importance of a given work. perhaps a novel or movie. try to maintain a sense of your own personality. It can often be educational to adopt a different position from what you might normally choose (debating requires this kind of flexibility). Expository writing will also require you to show understanding of the chosen topic – this is why many professors and tutors choose this essay type to check how well a student has mastered a given topic. A good informal essay has a relaxed style but retains a strong structure. No matter the size.

The five hottest topics of our time seem to be gun control. euthanasia. if you read one side. This task is more complicated than reviewing. you must take particular care in narrowing your topic. You are taking a piece of writing and trying to discover how and why it is put together the way that it is. as is the case for many young writers. abortion.The research essay leads you into the works of others and asks you to compare their thoughts with your own. The greatest inherent danger in the research essay is plagiarism. If you have difficulty picking a decent topic for your essay. writers of argumentation often forget that their primary purpose in an argument is to "win" it – to sway the reader to accept their point of view. the topics may be some fine reading material. never questioned the beliefs inherited from others. while in a literary essay you are paying greater attention to specifics. you are exploring the meaning and construction of a piece of literature. one can argue it effectively. tone. and subtext. Again. because most people are somewhat aware of the problems and can then concentrate on understanding the method of argument itself. A literary essay may be your own interpretation. It is easy to call names. though the two are similarly evaluative. much like a research paper. In a review you are discussing the overall effect and validity of a work. easy to ignore the point of view or research of others. character. however. you also read the other. or the right to die. theme. freedom of speech. The Literary Essay In the literary essay. you should avoid writing about issues that cannot be won. be wary of plagiarism and of letting the opinions of more experienced writers swamp your own response to the work. you are plagiarizing and the penalties are severe. You must find texts on the subject and use them to support the topic you have been given to explore. The Argumentative Essay The art of argumentation is not an easy skill to acquire. or. Writing a research paper involves going to source material and synthesizing what you learned from it with your own ideas. Want to know what you think about something? Then write an argumentative essay. These issues cannot be won for good reason: each touches on matters of faith and beliefs that for many people are unshakable and deeply private. If your paper consists of a string of quotations or paraphrases with little input of your own. avoid writing about these topics because they are either impossible to "win. feel free to check out our list of good argumentative essay topics. The Cause and Effect Essay The cause and effect essay includes some elements of writing that might be considered more professional than those a descriptive or narrative essay might include. Additionally. You must adopt a viewpoint on the work in question and show how the details of the work support your viewpoint. style. you'll find that one of the first things you must do is become an expert on the issue. based only on your reading of the piece. When you pick a topic. If any of the borrowings are unacknowledged. and extremely easy to accept one's own opinion as gospel. If you are going to consult the critics. Since it is easy to become lost in a wilderness of outside material. Many people might think that if one simply has an opinion. But care should be taken. A literary essay focuses on such elements as structure. It is very important. you are not synthesizing but copying. no matter how strongly you might feel about them. or it may be a mixture of your opinions and references to the criticism of others. and you should expect a low grade. Either way. for . If possible." or because your instructor is probably sick of reading about them and knows all the pros and cons by heart (this could put you at a serious disadvantage). even if the writer has not checked his or her premise in a couple of years. and probably the most recent. you should re-read the literary work you are discussing and make some notes on it before looking at any other opinions. capital punishment. Far too many individuals only read the side that they already believe in. To be fair. and these folks are always surprised when others don't agree with them because their logic seems so correct.

In the first sentence. Gun control measures should be taken in every hamlet in America. and in the same order. This would work in a narrative. Suppose you are interested in showing the differences between vacationing in the mountains and vacationing at the beach. While working on your compare and contrast essay. These words will pull your essay together and will make it hold better. the other is called point-by-point or alternating arrangement of ideas. If you mention a particular point in the mountains paragraph. then the . yet the overall essay structure remains invariable: there should be an introduction. and to convince readers to accept the cause/effect as fact. The purpose of a cause and effect paper is to be as convincing as possible. like. you should sound objective and impartial. You will then write a contrast composition. you can use words like: on the one hand/on the other hand. A comparison essay is an essay in which you emphasize the similarities. in most cases it doesn’t require scholarly research or any specific referencing. Writing Effective Comparison or Contrast Essays A Comparison or Contrast essay is an essay in which you either compare something or contrast something. this is such/in contrast. which car to buy. as well. and that your presentation be factual and believable. or whether to drive a car or take a bus or an airplane to a vacation site. too. and writers are required to come up with differences or similarities they are able to point out and analyze. a few body paragraphs and a conclusion. These words help you to tie paragraphs together by means of small logical connectors.instance. Additionally. Study the following outline. which shows this kind of organization. and a contrast essay is an essay in which you emphasize the differences. two classic organizational patterns of a comparison or contrast essay will be discussed. There are different compare and contrast patterns for these essays. unlike. however. but here it actually limits the meaning of the sentence to just the writer. you must mention the same point in the beach paragraph. and your choice of these sources is important as they reflect on the validity of your paper. the first person is used. The Comparison and Contrast Essays The main purpose and function of compare and contrast essays is obvious – to find similarities and dissimilarities between two or more objects or things. but etc. the beach paragraph. and it makes the writer sound weak – as if he were justifying himself or herself. Such essays are mostly subjective in nature. This kind of writing requires the writer to be an observer. One way to arrange your material is to use the block arrangement which is to write about vacationing in the mountains in one paragraph and vacationing at the beach in the next. The introductory paragraph is followed by the mountainsparagraph. In this section. Consider the following sentences: I believe that gun control measures should be taken in every hamlet in America. don’t forget to use the so-called cue words. We use comparison and contrast thinking when deciding which university to attend. For example. the first-person point of view does not work. The second sentence is much more forceful. that your tone be reasonable. Sources are often required in a cause/effect paper. It makes a statement and does not limit itself to just what the writer believes. though. One is called block arrangement of ideas.

Point-by-Point or Alternating Arrangement (five paragraphs) I. Block Arrangement (four paragraphs) I. Beach A. Types of Activities C. Beach IV. II. Introduction in which you state your purpose which is to discuss the differences between vacationing in the mountains or at the beach Mountain A. Conclusion A second way to organize this material is to discuss a particular point about vacationing in the mountains and then immediately to discuss the same point about vacationing at the beach. Vacationing at the Beach or in the Mountains People are always looking forward to their vacation period. An outline of this organization follows. Second difference between mountains and beaches are types of activities A. Beach V. There are many options where to choose. I think that the two most common places people choose for taking a vacation are the beaches and the mountains. Types of Activities C. Conclusion Application: Block or Point-by-Point Examine the comparison or contrast essays that follow. Notice how other authors structure their essays. Introduction in which you state your purpose which is to discuss differences between vacationing in the mountains or at the beach First difference between mountains and beaches is climate A. and decide whether the authors used block arrangement or point-by-point (or alternating) arrangement. This is called point-bypoint or alternatingarrangement.conclusion. Third difference between mountains and beaches is the location A. more conscious reader and writer. The beach offers activities that the mountain cannot offer and vice versa. Mountains B. Beach III. Climate B. Mountains B. Location IV. Location III. Five paragraphs or four? Blockarrangement or point-by-point arrangement? Noticing these things will help you become a better. Mountains B. Both places offer a variety of fun activities. Climate B. The mountain and the beach are totally different. The purpose of this essay . II. the fully developed essay is just four paragraphs.

The following essay contrasts eating fresh foods and canned foods. The three main differences are flavor. (399 words) Is the essay above organized using block or point-by-point arrangement of details? Note first the essay is four paragraphs. This is the block arrangement. People often choose one of these two options to spend their vacations. Depending on what the person likes is what he or she will choose. (1) an introduction. and ride water bikes. but the climate and the temperature of these zones also determine the types of activities they offer. Canada is a country located in North America and contains many mountain vacation sites where people can go and have fun. mountain biking. there are discos and restaurants where people can dance or party throughout the night. I’m going to discuss mountains first. types of activities and location. The fun is 1 00% guaranteed. The cold climate in the mountains is the first barrier to enjoying them. and skiing are some activities people can enjoy when going to the mountains. We live in a world where the variety of food is immense. he or she might have a hard time in the mountains. (2) a paragraph about vacationing in the mountains. lack a lot of its flavor characteristics because there are some other chemical products added to the natural foods. The sea and the warm climate determine the activities that are available at the beach. I’m going to discuss the beach second. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between eating fresh foods instead of canned foods. mountain climbing. Fresh foods have great flavor and taste because they keep all their natural conditions. Warm climate is one of the most important features that the beach has. play soccer. It is logical that the fresh foods will have a greater taste and flavor when consumed just because of the time in which they have been prepared. and cost. I like the beach better than the mountains. There are many regions that have mountains where people can go and have a great vacation. the first block containing information about mountains and the second block containing information about the beach. Climate is always important in order to enjoy vacations. Snow boarding. (3) a paragraph about vacationing at the beach. It doesn’t matter what place a person decides to choose. types of activities and location. but sometimes it is better to take a risk and try a different place to enjoy. Is its organization block or point-by-point? How many paragraphs does it contain? How many "differences" between fresh foods and canned foods does the author discuss? Consuming Fresh Foods Instead of Canned Foods Eating is an activity that we as humans do at least two times a day. and also it has to be tinned with many conservatives and chemical factors that prolong the shelf life and apparent freshness of the food but could also become toxic if consumed too often. . In most coastal sites. health benefits. Canned foods lose some of the original fresh food nutrients when stored. Comparing both types of foods we notice another difference. If a person dislikes cold weather. The three aspects I’m going to discuss are climate. types of activities and locations of beaches and mountains. and we are responsible for what we eat. Sun and fun are two words that describe the beach. The three aspects I’m going to discuss are climate. and (4) a conclusion. Acapulco and Cancun are two of the most beautiful and famous beaches in the word. There is a health factor that affects both of them. play volleyball. The temperature in those places is always hot. The most notable difference between these two kinds of foods is their flavor. Mexico offers many amazing coastal sites to visit. to contrast the climate. Canned foods however. We decide what we are about to eat and how it will affect our bodies. People can swim.

each point stated and developed in a single paragraph. The essay contains five paragraphs that contrast three differences between fresh and canned foods. Here the benefit of buying tinned foods is that they are easier to find. How to Support Your Point of View though Comparison and Contrast It was stated in the first part of this paper that we use comparison or contrast in nearly everything we do. However. Therefore it is important that you consider your possibilities and choose the best type of foods for your convenience and lifestyle. we often choose between fresh foods or canned foods. but they rarely attain the degree of perfection of the essay above. the three main differences in this contrast essay— flavor. just open and serve. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig. Persig uses comparison and contrast to serve a persuasive aim: to show the reader why riding a motorcycle is more stimulating than driving a car (Persig. the money and the importance he/she gives to his/her nutrition and health. (3) the development of the second difference (health benefits). the following paragraphs are from the book.Yet another difference between these two types of foods is the cost. When deciding what to eat. exactly as the writer above described. For example. This essays also contains the "classic" point-by-point organization. As we can see it comes down to a personal choice. The essay includes (1) an introduction. Which do You Prefer? . writers should support their own views. This ends the first part of this page. and cost—are stated both in the introduction and the conclusion as well. Note that Persig's description of the differences between riding in a car and riding a motorcycle is not neutral. by Heffernan and Lincoln). and (5) a conclusion. do you know the preference of the previous author? Did he state it directly? Why or why not? What other ways could this essay have ended? An important point to remember when writing comparison or contrast essays is that many times writers use comparison or contrast to support a personal point of view. Instead. the explanation of the differences between the classic organizational styles of comparison and contrast essays. for example. Here are the main three differences between buying fresh foods and buying canned foods. (1) block and (2) point-bypoint or alternating arrangement. My own observation is this: US kids are taught to organize and write five paragraph essays like this from early childhood. for example. Whenever possible and appropriate. health benefits. (347 words) The essay above is the "classic" five paragraph essay that all non-native speakers of English should learn to write. Canned foods are much more expensive than fresh foods. based on the time each person has. (2) the development of the first difference (flavor). (4) the development of the third difference (cost). In the true classic tradition. and they require less work to prepare than fresh foods. in a supermarket instead of the market like the fresh foods.

You're a passive observer. In a car you're always in a compartment. you're in contact with it all. How will they respond to your ideas? Will they understand what you have written? Will they agree with your main point? Will the support appear logical to them? 4. In your essay. yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime. How to Write an Effective Comparison or Contrast Essay: Summary 1. On a cycle the frame is gone.You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. never removed from immediate consciousness. however." An important objective in academic writing is clarity. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing. consider which of the following options would YOU prefer. and the whole thing. Being able to identify your organization will not only help you in the organization of your own writing. is never removed from immediate consciousness. and the sense of presence is overwhelming. In a car. and because you're used to it. You're completely in contact with it all. you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. a passing observer. not just watching it anymore. Be sure your reader can relate to your topic. State your organization. Know what organizational style you are using. Say what you want to say. In writing a comparison or contrast essay. and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. use contrast to show your own preference. It's right there. You're in the scene. On a motorcycle. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. but it will also help your reader follow the points you make. make your preference clear as Persig did when he contrasted the difference between vacationing by car or motorcycle. read your essay from the perspective of your audience. Remember the "straight line of development" that was discussed in the introduction requires that you "tell your audience what you are going to tell them. the whole experience. to support your own point of view. the whole experience. and what support would you use? Can you think of any other topics that might be fun to contrast? . you should be able to identify it. to persuade the reader which option you prefer. the whole thing. and why? To support your point in each essay. the same stuff you walk on. Persig's choice of travel is obvious. Finally. Whether you use the block arrangement or point-by-point arrangement. what characteristics would you choose to contrast. and stating your organization always contributes to clarity. Write like Robert Persig did in his book. 2. the real thing. you are in a compartment seeing just more TV. After you finish writing. to further clarify how it would be possible to say what you want to say in your writing. then tell them. so blurred you can't focus on it. Keep your audience in mind. then tell them what you told them. Err on the side of clarity! 3.