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ACADEMIC WRITING

UNIT #2
CLAUSES
THE SENTENCE

IN THIS UNIT:

Clauses
Types of Clauses: Independent and Dependent
Kinds of Sentences:
(1) simple
(2) compound
(3) complex
(4) compound-complex
Sentences Types and Writing Style

CLAUSES: AN INTRODUCTION
Clauses are the building blocks of sentences. To understand how sentences work in English,
it is important to have a solid understanding of what a clause is. A clause is simply a group of
words that contains a subject and a verb. A clause may contain other elements, but every
clause needs at least a subject and a verb.
Clauses:
football is fun (Here, there is a subject, football, and a verb, is; therefore, it is a clause)
because dogs like bones (The subject is dogs; the verb is like. This is a clause)
Not clauses:
John, in his green suit (Here, there is a subject, John, but no verb. Therefore, it is not a
clause)
protect the ocean (Here, there is a verb, protect, but no subject. Therefore, it is not a clause)

EXERCISE 2A: Clauses


Decide if each of the following is a clause or not. Circle the correct answer.
1. the car stopped
2. the blue suit hanging in the closet
3. an interesting life
4. the short man sat
5. wasnt very interesting
6. she told him everything
7. since it wasnt very late
8. love is like a rose
9. the morning newspaper
10. the child played

CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE
CLAUSE

NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE
NOT A CLAUSE

INDEPENDENT AND DEPENDENT CLAUSES


There are two kinds of clauses: independent and dependent.

Independent Clauses
An independent clause contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. It
can stand alone as a sentence by itself. An independent clause is formed with a subject and a
verb and often a complement.
Two examples:
Subject
The sun
Water

Verb
rose.
evaporates

(Complement)
rapidly in warm climates.

Dependent Clauses
A dependent clause (also called a subordinate clause) begins with a subordinator such as
when, while, if, that, or who. A dependent clause does not express a complete thought, so it
is not a sentence by itself. A dependent clause is also called a sentence fragment. By itself, it
is an incomplete sentence, and it is an error. A dependent clause is formed with a
subordinator, a subject and a verb.
Some examples:
Subordinator
... when
... because
until
so that

Subject
the boy
he
I
the man

Verb
ran ...
is
saw
understood

(Complement)
a good singer
the doctor

Some common subordinators include:


after
although
as
as if
because

before
even though
how
if
so that

that
though
unless
until

when
whenever
where
wherever

which
while
who
whose

* a complement is a word, phrase, or clause that follows a verb and which simply adds further
information concerning, usually, the verb's subject.

EXERCISE 2B: Independent and Dependent Clauses

Write Independent next to the complete sentences and put a period (.) after them. Write
Dependent next to the incomplete sentences. The first two have been done for you.
____________ 1. Globalization means more travel for businessmen and women
____________ 2. As business executives fly around the globe to sell their companies
products and services
____________ 3. Jet lag affects most long-distance travelers
____________ 4. Which is simply the urge to sleep at inappropriate times
____________ 5. During long journeys through several time zones, the bodys inner clock is
disrupted
____________ 6. For some reason, travel from west to east causes greater jet lag than
travel from east to west
____________ 7. Also, changes in work schedules can cause jet lag
____________ 8. When hospital nurses change from a day shift to a night shift, for example
____________ 9. Although there is no sure way to prevent jet lag
____________10. There are some ways to minimize it
____________ 11. Because jet lag is caused at least partially by loss of sleep, not just a
change in the time of sleep
____________ 12. A traveler should plan to arrive at his or her destination as late as possible
____________ 13. Upon arriving, he or she should immediately go to bed
____________ 14. Then the traveler should start to live in the new time zone immediately
____________ 15. Even when the traveler arrives early in the morning and cannot go to bed
immediately

EXERCISE 2C: Independent and Dependent Clauses


Decide if each of the following is an independent or dependent clause. Circle the correct
answer.
1. Joe worried about his test
2. before he returns to work
3. after they completed the homework
4. she doesnt come to see him anymore
5. who wore a red dress
6. until Mr. Sanchez has his first cup of coffee
7. which is why we believe in the project
8. until someone does something
9. she found it in the trash
10. that ran in front of the truck
11. after Amy sneezed all over the tuna salad
12. because the one I have now isn't working
13. I ate the chicken
14. wherever you go
15. time waits for no man

INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT

DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT
DEPENDENT

KINDS OF SENTENCES
Sentences are formed by one or more clauses and express a complete thought. The four
basic kinds of sentences in English are:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

simple
compound
complex
compound-complex

(1) Simple Sentences


A simple sentence is the same as an independent clause.
Subject
The boy
He

Verb
ran.
is

(Complement)
a good singer.

A simple sentence can have one or more subjects. (When there is more than one subject, the
subjects are called a compound subject.) A simple sentence can also have one or more verbs.
(When there is more than one verb, the verbs are called a compound verb.)
Examples:
one subject, one verb
one subject, compound verb
compound subject, one verb
compound subject, compound verb

Sally likes salad


Sally likes salad and eats it every day.
Sally and Roy like salad.
Sally and Roy like salad and eat it every day.

(2) Compound Sentences


A compound sentence is two or more independent clauses joined together. There are
several ways to make a compound sentence, including using (a) coordinators,
(b) semicolons, and (c) semicolons with conjunctive adverbs.

(a) Coordinators
One way to join two independent clauses together is with a coordinator (also called
coordinating conjunctions). There are seven coordinators in English: for, and, nor, but, or, yet,
& so. You can remember these coordinators by the phrase FAN BOYS (using the first letter of
each of the coordinators). Coordinators are used in the following ways:

CONJUNCTION

FUNCTION

FOR

Meaning because

AND

To join two similar ideas

NOR

To join two negative


independent clauses

BUT

To join two contrasting ideas

OR

To add an alternative
possibility

YET

To add an unexpected or
surprising continuation

SO

Shows that the second idea


is the logical consequence of
the first

EXAMPLE
Japanese people live longer than
most nationalities, for they eat
healthy diets.
They eat a lot of fish and vegetables,
and they eat lightly.
They do not eat a lot of red meat, nor
do they eat many dairy products.
(note: notice that question word order
is used after NOR.)
Diet is one factor in how long people
live, but it is not the only factor.
People should limit the amount of
animal fat in their diet, or they risk
getting heart disease.
Cigarette smoking is a factor in
longevity, yet Japanese have a high
rate of tobacco use.
Doctors say that stress is another
factor, so try to avoid stress if you
wish to live a long time.

Note that a comma is used after each coordinator.

EXERCISE 2F: More Coordinators


Write the correct coordinator in each blank space.
1. Alberto was cold, __________ he put on a coat.
2. Maria tried to read a novel in French, __________ it was too difficult.
3. Im not going to Vancouver this year, __________ am I going to San Francisco.
4. To get from Vancouver to Victoria, you can fly, __________ you can ride the ferry.
5. I bought a bottle of wine, __________ we drank it together.
6. Tom felt terrible, __________ he had been out drinking all night.
7. The waiter was not very nice, __________ the food was delicious.
8. I went to buy a Rolling Stones CD, __________ the shop didn't have it.
9. Anna needed some money, __________ she took a part-time job.
10. He was the tallest player on the team, __________ he was a terrible basketball player.
11. There's so much rain lately! Maybe it's because of global warming, __________ maybe it's
just coincidence.
12. Julie has a guitar, __________ she plays it really well.
13. Bob cant play the guitar, __________ can he play the drums.
14. The concert was cancelled, __________ we went to a nightclub instead.
15. He said he didnt want to go, __________ he went anyway.

(b) Semicolons
Another way to create compound sentences is with semicolons. This kind of compound
sentence is possible only when the two independent clauses are closely related in meaning. If
they are not closely related, they should be written as two simple sentences, each ending with
a period.
The car has a large engine; this power is used to accelerate quickly.
We are unable to meet as planned; we will meet next week.

EXERCISE 2H: Semicolons


Place a semicolon in the correct place, below.
1. The practice of yoga strengthens the body and promotes flexibility it also strengthens the
mind and refreshes the spirit.
2. Motherhood causes some women to quit their jobs others continue working despite having
young children to care for.
3. Three hundred guests attended his wedding two attended his funeral.

(c) Conjunctive Adverbs


Another way to join two independent clauses and show the logical connection between them is
by using conjunctive adverbs. These provide some of the same logic as the coordinating and
subordinating conjunctions seen above, but generally are more formal.
Here is a list of some of the most common conjunctive adverbs (followed by coordinating and
subordinating conjunctions that have similar meanings):
CONJUNCTIVE ADVERB
accordingly
afterward
also
as a result
besides
consequently
earlier
for example
hence
however
in addition
later
moreover
nevertheless
otherwise

COORDINATOR

SUBORDINATOR
after

and
for
and
so

since, because

before
so
but, yet
and

since, because
although, even though
after

and
yet
or

even though, though,


although

still
then
therefore
thus

yet
after
so
so

Here are some examples of how conjunctive adverbs are used:

To add a similar, equal idea


also
besides
furthermore
in addition
moreover

Community colleges offer preparation for many occupations; also


/ besides / furthermore / in addition / moreover, they prepare
students to transfer to a four-year college or university.

To add an unexpected or surprising continuation


however
nevertheless
nonetheless
still

The cost of attending a community college is low; however /


nevertheless / nonetheless / still, many students need financial
aid.

To add a complete contrast


on the other hand
in contrast

Tuition at a community college is low; on the other hand / in


contrast, tuition at a private school is high.

To give an alternative possibility


otherwise

Students must take final exams; otherwise, they wont pass.

accordingly
as a result
consequently
hence
therefore
thus

Native and non-native English speakers have different needs;


accordingly / as a result / consequently / hence / therefore /
thus, most schools provide separate English classes for each
group.

To add an expected result

To add an example
for example
for instance

Most colleges now have a writing requirement for graduation; for


example / for instance, students at my college must pass a
writing test before they can register for their final semester.

The rule for using conjunctive adverbs is simple: when a conjunctive adverb joins two
independent clauses, place a semicolon before the conjunctive adverb and a comma after it:
Independent clause;

accordingly,
also,
as a result,
for example,
still,
therefore,
etc.

independent clause.

conjunctive adverb,
consequently,

independent clause.
the highways was open
within an hour.
elephants do not.

Here are two examples:


Independent clause;
Fifteen men quickly cleared
the accident from the road;
Dogs make good pets;

however,

EXERCISE 2J: Conjunctive Adverbs


Combine the following pairs of sentences using conjunctive adverbs (note, many of these
could be joined with coordinators: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.)
1. Solar heating systems are economical to operate. The cost of installation is very high.
2. Burning fossil fuels causes serious damage to the planet. We need to develop other
sources of energy.
3. Ecologists know that burning fossil fuels causes holes in the ozone layer. People continue
to do it.
4. All nations of the world must take action. Our children and grandchildren will suffer the
consequences.

EXERCISE 2K: Compound Sentence Practice


Finish these compound sentences using conjunctive adverbs.
1. Fire destroyed the building; however,
2. She realized her cat was missing; therefore,
3. Jerry handed the clerk 20 dollars; then,
4. The man arrested for murder was found guilty; consequently,
5. She did not yell; nevertheless,
6. It is an old house;
7. He generally leaves home at 8:00;
8. First he kissed her;
9. Bill didnt call his wife;
10. She didnt love him anymore;

EXERCISE 2M: Compound Sentence Practice

Use what you have learned about forming compound sentences to improve the following
essay, which contains many short, simple sentences. Combine sentences wherever
appropriate. Try to use each of the three methods at least once. There are many possible
ways to combine the sentences.
(1) A robot is a mechanical device that can perform boring, dangerous, and difficult
tasks. (2) First of all, robots can perform repetitive tasks without becoming tired or bored. (3)
They are used in automobile factories to weld and paint. (4) Robots can also function in
hostile environments. (5) They are useful for exploring the ocean bottom as well as deep
outer space. (6) Finally, robots can perform tasks requiring pinpoint accuracy. (7) In the
operating room, robotic equipment can assist the surgeon. (8) For instance, a robot can kill a
brain tumor. (9) It can operate on a fetus with great precision.
(10) The field of artificial intelligence is giving robots a limited ability to think and make
decisions. (11) However, robots cannot think conceptually. (12) Robots cannot function
independently. (13) Humans have to program them. (14) They are useless. (15) Therefore,
humans should not worry that robots will take over the world -- at least, not yet.

(3) Complex Sentences


A complex sentence is a sentence with an independent clause and at least one dependent
clause (subordinating clause). The dependent clause is introduced by either a subordinator
such as although, while or because or a relative pronoun such as who or which.
Examples:
When I saw what you had done, I was happy.
Independent clause:
Dependent clause:

I was happy.
When I saw what you had done

It makes me happy that you love me.


Independent clause:
Dependent clause:

It makes me happy.
that you love me

Economists are concerned that the rate of inflation will double if the government does
not act.
Independent clause:
Dependent clause 1:
Dependent clause 2:

Economists are concerned


that the rate of inflation will double
if the government does not act.

Engineers, who have an aptitude for mechanics, must also be artistic and imaginative.
Independent clause:
Dependent clause:

Engineers must also be artistic and


imaginative.
who have an aptitude for mechanics

EXERCISE 2N: Complex Sentences


Analyze the following sentences. Which are the independent clauses and which are the
dependent clauses.
1.
2.
3.
4.

Please tell me where the post office is.


Engineers, who have an aptitude for mechanics, must also be artistic and imaginative.
Even though students declare a major now, they can change it later.
Economists are concerned that the rate of inflation will double if the government does not
act.

EXERCISE 2O: Complex Sentences (cont.)


Add a logical independent clause to each of the dependent clauses.
1. ________________________________________________________ until I pay my tuition.
2. Unless I take 12 units each term _______________________________________.
3. ___________________________________________ that computer engineering is a
popular major at this school.
4. ___________________________________________ who taught this course last term?
5. Because I had to look for a part-time job __________________________________.
6. ___________________________________________ if I want to get to school on time.
7. ________________________________________ whether I should take advance calculus.
8. __________________________________________ whom I met at the math club last
week.
9. When I left my country ________________________________________________.
10. __________________________________________ that my college advisor
recommends.

REVIEW: Simple, Compound, & Complex Sentences


EXERCISE 2P: Review
Decide if each of the following sentences is Simple, Compound, or Complex.
1: The teacher walked into the classroom, greeted the students, and took attendance.
2: Juan played football while Juanita went shopping.
3: Juan played football, but Juanita went shopping.
4: Although Mexico has the better football team, it lost.
5: The island was filled with many trails winding through the thick underbrush, a small lake,
and dangerous wild pigs.
6: Naoki passed the test because he studied hard and understood the material.

EXERCISE 2Q: Review


Decide if each of the following sentences is Simple, Compound, or Complex.

1: Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880 and died in 1968.
2: Until she was 19 months of age, her sight and hearing were normal.
3: When she was 19 months old, a severe illness left her deaf and blind.
4: When she was seven, she began her education in reading and writing with Anne Sullivan of
the Perkins Institute for the Blind.
5: Through persistence and stubbornness, Anne breaks through Helen's walls of silence and
darkness and teaches her to communicate.
6: Helen Keller learned to read by the Braille system, and she learned to write by using a
specially constructed typewriter.
7: Later, she entered Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904.
8: Helen Keller's story needed to be told, so in 1962, a beautiful movie was made about her
life.
9: "If there were only joy in the world, we could never learn to be brave and patient." -- Helen
Keller
10: "Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing." -- Helen Keller

(4) Compound-Complex Sentences


You should practiced simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences until
you feel comfortable with these sentence types and can begin to write them with accuracy.
However, you should be aware that there is one more type of sentence: compound-complex.
Exercises are provided below for those students who may want extra practice with more
difficult sentence types.
A compound-complex sentence has two independent clauses, and one (or more) dependent
clauses. Or, said another way, it is a compound sentence in which at least one complex
sentence is joined with another sentence using a coordinator, a semicolon, or a conjunctive
adverb.
The following are some examples:
Note: independent clauses are in bold, dependent clauses are underlined.
1. The first part is a complex sentence; it is added to an independent clause
using the conjunctive adverb however, forming a compound sentence:
I wanted to travel after I graduated from college; however, I had to go to
work immediately.
2. The first part is a complex sentence; it is added to an independent clause
using the coordinator but, forming a compound sentence:
After I graduated from college, I wanted to travel, but I had to go to work
immediately.
3. Here, two complex sentences are joined by the coordinator but to form a
compound sentence:

I wanted to travel after I graduated from college, but I had to go to work


immediately because I had to support my family.
More Examples:
I admire Tim, but he doesn't admire me, although I try hard to impress him.
Independent clauses:
Dependent clause:

I admire Tim
he doesnt admire me
although I try hard to impress him

Even if you fail, at least you tried, and you're a better person for it.
Independent clauses:
Dependent clause:

at least you tried


youre a better person for it
even if you fail

The dog lived in the backyard, but the cat, who thought she was superior, lived inside
the house.
Independent clauses:

the dog lived in the backyard.


the cat lived inside the house.

Dependent clause:

who thought she was superior

Though the movie had been tested on the market, The Last Shadow did not fare well in
the United States, but it did develop a huge following in Europe, which usually does not
go for this movie genre.
Independent clauses:

the Last Shadow did not fare well in the United


States.
it did develop a huge following in Europe.

Dependent clauses:

though the movie had been tested on the market


which usually does not go for this movie genre

EXERCISE 2R: Clauses


Identify the types of clauses in the following Compound-Complex Sentences: Dependent or
Independent. Circle dependent clauses; underline independent clauses.
1. John went to school, but James remained at home because he had a sore throat.
2. If he changes his mind, we will know for sure that Joe has learned his lesson, but only time
will tell.

3. Those clouds look like rain; we should hurry before we get caught in bad weather.
4. Here is the money that I owe you, and I am happy to be free of debt.
5. Were you ever in a storm that was full of lightning, or don't you remember?

EXERCISE 2S: Clauses


Identify the types of clauses in the following Compound-Complex Sentences: Dependent or
Independent. Circle dependent clauses; underline independent clauses.
1. Since we had gone only a mile from camp, we could return before dark, and we would not
become lost.
2. After the tornado had hit, my house was gone, but my neighbor's house was not touched.
3. Mary heard the frightening noise again, and the sound was one that would frighten the
bravest of people.
4. The route can be changed, but I know several people who will not like the change.
5. Dr. Mathews did what could be done, but it simply was not enough to save Johns life.

REVIEW: Simple, Compound, Complex, & CompoundComplex Sentences


EXERCISE 2U: Review
The following sentences are either a simple sentence, a compound sentence, a complex
sentence or a compound-complex sentence. Identify the sentences.
1. Jim and his friend Ryan had planned to return to Canada.
2. Although we searched everywhere, Curtis could find no trace of his shoes.
3. Alaina wrote an original poem, and her mother corrected her spelling.
4. Since he was entrusted with the secret, Fred became very serious, and he was no longer a
practical joker.
5. The real story is that he was injured while he was hiking.
6. None of the other jurors asked me to change my mind.
7. Barbara and Jeanne whispered and giggled all night.
8. It cannot be denied.

9. The boy who is speaking is my brother, and he will be staying with us.
10. I know you don't like him, but that doesn't matter.

SENTENCE TYPES AND WRITING STYLE


EXERCISE 2V
Writing that uses only one kind of sentence is boring and may not convey the message that
you intend. As you read the model paragraph below, answer the following questions: Which
paragraphs have too many compound sentences? Which paragraph has too many simple
sentences? Which paragraph uses a good mixture of sentence type?
Rosa Parks is a famous African-American woman, and she is often called
the mother of the civil rights movement. She was born into a poor but
hardworking African-American family in Alabama, and no one suspected that she
would become the spark that ignited the civil rights movement in the United
States. This movement changed U.S. society forever, and it helped AfricanAmericans attain equal rights under the law.
Parks became famous quite be accident. One day in 1955, she was on
her way home from her job in a Montgomery, Alabama, department store. She
boarded a city bus with three other African-Americans. They sat in the fifth row.
The fifth row was the first row African-Americans were allowed to sit in. A few
stops later, the front rows filled up. A white man was left standing.
According to the laws of that time, African-Americans had to give up their
seats to whites, so the bus driver asked Parks and the three other AfricanAmericans to get up and move. Although the others complied, Parks refused.
She later said she was not tired from work, but tired of being treated like a
second-class citizen. The bus driver called the police, who arrested Parks and
took her away in handcuffs.
Over the weekend, a protest was organized, and the following Monday,
African-American people in Montgomery began a boycott of the public buses,
and the boycott was tremendously successful, and it lasted more than a year.
The Supreme Court of the United States finally ruled that segregation on public
transportation was unconstitutional. African-Americans had won a huge victory,
and they realized their power to change the system.

EXERCISE 2W: HOMEWORK Sentence Type and Style


Use different kinds of sentences to improve this short essay, which contains too many simple
sentences. (Rewrite the essay on a separate sheet of paper.)
Nonverbal communication is used everywhere in the world. It is also
called body language. It is a very powerful means of communication. It
communicates much more than spoken words.
One example of nonverbal communication is what occurs between
parents and child. Parents smile at their child. They communicate love. They
communicate acceptance. And they communicate reassurance. The child feels
comfortable and safe. The parents smile signifies approval. The child is happy
and well adjusted.
Another example of nonverbal communication is the image a person
shows in public. A woman is walking alone. She is walking on an unfamiliar
street. The street is possibly dangerous. She wants to appear confident. So
she walks quickly. She may be tired. But she walks with her shoulders straight.
She walks with her head held high. Her eyes are focused straight ahead.
Someone is looking at her. She returns the glance without hesitation. In
contrast, a nervous woman appears afraid. She walks slowly with her shoulders
and eyes down.
Indeed, body language can express more than spoken language. Merely
by raising an eyebrow, a person can express disapproval. They can express
anger. They can even express love. One can also express these things by
clenching a jaw or softening the eyes. It is a very strong method of
communication.

Taken from: Richter, K. (2009). W1 Unit 2 Student Copy. Class material. Guanajuato, Gto.: Universidad
de Guanajuato.