The Sentence - subject and predicate
A sentence contains a subject and a predicate.
Subject: a noun word which does the action in a sentence.
Ex. John hit Jack (Who did it? John.)
Predicate: the verb, and sometimes an object. Objects aren’t always needed. The type of verb determines
whether or not there should be an object. Transitive verbs (verbs that need an object) require objects. Intransitive verbs do not require objects. Objects are always noun words. Verbs are action words. Ex. John hit Jack (What did John do. Hit - verb) John hit Jack (Whom did John hit? Jack - object) .
Predicate (verb & object)
John hit Jack. The car hit the wall. The very nice girl gave the book to Eric.
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Sentences can be broken down into clauses. For example: The boy is going to the school, and he is going to eat there. This is a complete sentence composed of two clauses. There are mainly two types of clauses: independent clauses and subordinate clauses. Independent clauses act as complete sentences, while subordinate clauses cannot stand alone and need another clause to complete their meaning. For example: Independent clause: “The boy went to the school.” Subordinate clause: “After the boy went to the school
A group of two or more grammatically linked words that do not have subject and predicate is a phrase. For example: The girl is at home, and tomorrow she is going to the amusement park. You can see that “the amusement park” is a phrase located in the second clause of the complete sentence above.
Phrases act like parts of speech inside clauses. That is, they can act as nouns, adjectives, adverbs and so on
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Phrases: how they're different from clauses
Phrase: a group of words that does not have both a subject and verb in agreement. Phrases always modify
another part of the sentence (a clause) they are in, or act as a noun. (For more information about phrases, see the guide to phrases.) Examples: [Going to the store] is always fun. (Phrase lacks a subject of its own. Acts as a subject) I enjoy [doing my homework]. (Phrase lacks a subject of its own. Acts as a subject.) The boy [sitting in the corner] is my son. (Phrase lacks its own subject. Acts as an adjective.) John punched Jack [in the arm]. (Phrase lacks its own subject, Acts as adverb.) [His gun in his holster], the police officer was ready for patrol. (Phrase lacks verb. Acts as adjective)
Clauses: independent and dependent
Clause: a group of words that includes a subject and verb in agreement (they go together). There are two kinds
of clauses: Independent or main clause (IC): a clause that can be a sentence by itself. It has a subject and a verb. Ex. [Dana went to bed (IC)]. [Dana went to bed (IC)], but she wanted to stay up. Dependent or subordinate clause (DC): a clause that can’t be a sentence by itself. It also has a subject and a verb. Usually, a word at the beginning of the sentence (the subordinating word - SW) stops the dependent clause from being a sentence. Ex. [And I talked to Steven (DC)]. (“And” subordinates the clause so that it can’t be a sentence.) Dana went to bed, [but she wanted to stay up (DC)]. (“but” subordinates)
by George J. Lamont Sentences and Clauses www.fortunecity.com
Types of dependent clauses
There are three types of independent clauses, which are:
Noun clauses Adjective Clauses Adverb Clauses
Don’t be fooled by the word “clause”. A noun clause does the same things as a noun. An adjective clause does the same thing as an adjective, or an adjective phrase (see phrases). An adverb clause does the same thing as an adverb, or adverb phrase (see phrases).
Noun Clause: A noun clause is a subordinate clause that acts like a noun. A noun clause does the four regular
jobs of nouns: subject, object, object of preposition, predicate noun, plus an extra, appositive (see phrases appositives).
Examples of noun clauses
[What he said] was nonsense. (Subject) [Whatever you get me] will be lovely. (Subject) I want to know [what you said]. (Object) I can go [wherever I want]. (Object) I would like to talk about [what happened last night]. (Object of preposition) We need to get around [whatever this is]. (Object of preposition) You can be [whomever you want to be]. (Predicate noun - follows linking verb) You sound like [whoever sings that famous song]. (Predicate noun - follows linking verb)
An adjective clause is a dependent clause which describes or modifies a noun or pronoun in the independent clause. Adjective clauses commonly begin with relative pronouns, such as who, whose, whom, which, or that. Sometimes, adjective clauses begin with when or where. Sometimes, adjective clauses begin with no special word. Examples Is he the man whom you saw in the office? This is the earring that I lost a long time ago. This is the place where I fell on my bike. This is the dog whose owner doesn’t care about it. This is a great car, which I ordered directly from the manufacturer. She is the one (that) I want to do the project with. © University of Ottawa For additional information, consult our list of contacts Technical questions? firstname.lastname@example.org Last updated: 2007.08.16
Adverbs, adverb phrases, and adverb clauses
An adverb may be a single word such as quickly, here or yesterday (see the page Adverbs), or a phrase such as the day before yesterday or to see my mother (see the page Adverb Phrases). However, adverbs can also be clauses, containing a subject and a full verb. This page will explain the basic types of adverb clauses (sometimes called "adverbial clauses") and how to recognize them.
I saw the movie yesterday. I saw the movie on Friday. I saw the movie before I left for Calgary.
In the first sentence, "yesterday" is a one-word adverb, "on Friday" is an adverb phrase, and "before I left for Calgary" is a adverb clause. All of them answer the question "When?", but the adverb clause has a subject ("I") and a full verb ("left"). It is introduced by "before", so it is a dependent clause. This means that it cannot stand alone: "Before I left for Calgary" would not be a full sentence. It needs a main clause ("I saw the movie"). An adverb clause, then, is a dependent clause that does the same job as an adverb or an adverb phrase
by George J. Lamont Sentences and Clauses www.fortunecity.com UVic English Language Center, 1999 http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca
An adverbial clause is a clause that functions as an adverb. In other words, it contains subject (explicit or implied) and predicate, and it modifies a verb.
I saw Joe when I went to the store. (explicit subject I) He sat quietly in order to appear polite. (implied subject he)
According to Sidney Greenbaum and Randolph Quirk, adverbial clauses function mainly as adjuncts or disjuncts. In those functions they are like adverbial phrases, but in their potentiality for greater explicitness, they are more often like prepositional phrases (Greenbaum and Quirk,1990):
We left after the speeches ended. We left after the end of the speeches.
Contrast adverbial clauses with adverbial phrases, which do not contain a clause.
I like to fly kites for fun.
Kinds of adverbial clauses
Kind of Clause
1-time clauses when, before, These clauses are Her father died when she was young. after, since, used to say when while, as, until something happens
by referring to a period of time or to another event. These clauses are used to talk about If they lose weight during an illness, a possible situation they soon regain it afterwards. and its consequences.
These clauses are in order to, so They had to take some of his land so used to indicate the that, in order that they could extend the purpose of an that churchyard. action. because, since, as, given These clauses are used to indicate the I couldn't feel anger against him reason for because I liked him too much. something. These clauses are My suitcase had become so damaged used to indicate the on the journey home that the lid result of would not stay closed. something. These clauses are used to make two statements, one of which contrasts with the other or makes it seem surprising. These clauses are used to talk about the location or position of something. These clauses are used to talk about someone's behaviour or the way something is done.
although, though, while
I used to read a lot although I don't get much time for books now.
He said he was happy where he was.
8-clauses of manner
as, like, the way
I was never allowed to do things the way I wanted to do them.
by George J. Lamont Sentences and Clauses www.fortunecity.com
Greenbaum, Sidney & Quirk, Randolph. A Student's Grammar of the English Language. Hong Kong: Longman Group (FE) Ltd, 1990.
Sinclair, John (editor-in-chief). Collins Cobuild English Grammar. London and Glasgow: William Collins Sons & Co ltd, 1990.
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Building Sentences with Adverb Clauses (part one):
Here we'll practice building sentences with adverb clauses. Like an adjective clause, an adverb clause is always dependent on (or subordinate to) an independent clause. Like an ordinary adverb, an adverb clause usually modifies a verb, though it can also modify an adjective, an adverb, or even the rest of the sentence in which it appears. Adverb clauses show the relationship and relative importance of ideas in our sentences.
-Adverb clauses modifying verbs We parked the car where it was closest to the door. (Modifies verb - where we parked) When the movie started, we were waiting in the lobby for our friends to arrive. (Modifies verb - when we were waiting) She could reach the shelf because she is so tall. (Modifies verb - why she could reach it.) If you do that again, I will get angry. (Modifies verb - why I will get angry) -Adverb clauses modifying adjectives The McLaren F1 is faster than any other car in the race. (Modifies adjective “faster” - how much faster) She is much more clever than she used to be. (Modifies adjective “clever” - how much more clever) This movie is as bad as I have ever seen. (Modifies adjective “bad” - how bad) -Adverb clauses modifying adverbs I worked more quickly than the other competitors did. (Modifies adverb “quickly” - how quickly) Finlay plays Warcraft more brutally than anybody else. (Modifies adverb “brutally” - how brutally) Sue worked quickly because she wanted to finish early. (Modifies adverb “quickly” - why quickly) You hurt me so much that I cried for days! (Modifies adverb “much” - how much)
From Coordination to Subordination
Consider how we might combine these two sentences: The national speed limit was repealed. Road accidents have increased sharply. One option is to coordinate the two sentences: The national speed limit was repealed, and road accidents have increased sharply. Coordination with and allows us to connect the two main clauses, but it doesn't clearly identify the relationship between the ideas in those clauses. To clarify that relationship, we may choose to change the first main clause into an adverb clause: Since the national speed limit was repealed, road accidents have increased sharply. In this version the time relationship is emphasized. By changing the first word in the adverb clause (a word called a subordinating conjunction), we can establish a different relationship--one of cause: Because the national speed limit was repealed, road accidents have increased sharply. Notice that an adverb clause, like an adjective clause, contains its own subject and predicate, but it must be subordinated to a main clause to make sense.
Building Sentences with Adverb Clauses (part two)
As discussed in part one, adverb clauses are subordinate structures that show the relationship and relative importance of ideas in sentences. They explain such things as when, where, and why about an action stated in the main clause. Here we'll consider ways of arranging and revising sentences with adverb clauses.
Arranging Adverb Clauses
An adverb clause, like an ordinary adverb, can be shifted to different positions in a sentence. It may be placed at the beginning, at the end, or occasionally even in the middle of a sentence. An adverb clause commonly appears after the main clause: Jill and I waited inside the Cup-A-Cabana Diner until the rain stopped. However, if the action described in the adverb clause precedes the action in the main clause, it is logical to place the adverb clause at the beginning: When Gus asked Merdine for a light, she set fire to his toupee. Placing an adverb clause at the beginning can help to create suspense as the sentence builds toward a main point: As I shuffled humbly out the door and down the front steps, my eyes to the ground, I felt that my pants were baggy, my shoes several sizes too large, and the tears were coursing down either side of a huge putty nose. (Peter DeVries, Let Me Count the Ways) When working with two adverb clauses, you may want to place one in front of the main clause and the other behind it: When a bus skidded into a river just outside of New Delhi, all 78 passengers drowned because they belonged to two separate castes and refused to share the same rope to climb to safety. Punctuation Tips:
When an adverb clause appears at the beginning of a sentence, it is usually separated from the main clause by a comma. A comma is usually not necessary when the adverb clause follows the main clause.
An adverb clause can also be placed inside a main clause, usually between the subject and verb: The best thing to do, when you've got a dead body on the kitchen floor and you don't know what to do about it, is to make yourself a good strong cup of tea. (Anthony Burgess, One Hand Clapping) This middle position, though not a particularly common one, can be effective as long as the reader doesn't lose track of the idea in the main clause. Punctuation Tip:
An adverb clause that interrupts a main clause, as show in the example above, is usually set off by a pair of commas.
Reducing Adverb Clauses
Adverb clauses, like adjective clauses, can sometimes be shortened to phrases:
If your luggage is lost or destroyed, it should be replaced by the airline. If lost or destroyed, your luggage should be replaced by the airline.
The second sentence has been shortened by omitting the subject and the verb is from the adverb clause. It is just as clear as the first sentence and more concise. Adverb clauses can be shortened in this way only when the subject of the adverb clause is the same as the subject of the main clause. Editing Tip:
To cut the clutter from your writing, try reducing adverb clauses to phrases when the subject of the adverb clause is the same as the subject of the main clause.
Practice in Revising Sentences with Adverb Clauses
Rewrite each set below according the instructions in parentheses. When you are done, compare your revised sentences with those at the bottom of this page. Keep in mind that more than one correct response is possible. 1. (Shift the adverb clause--in bold--to the beginning of the sentence, making it the subject of the adverb clause.) The forest supports incessant warfare, most of which is hidden and silent, although the forest looks peaceful. 2. (Shift the adverb clause to a position between the subject and verb in the main clause and set it off with a pair of commas.) While he was on maneuvers in South Carolina, Billy Pilgrim played hymns he knew from childhood.
3. (Reduce the adverb clause to a phrase by dropping the subject and verb from the adverb clause.) While he was on maneuvers in South Carolina, Billy Pilgrim played hymns he knew from childhood. 4. (Turn the first main clause into an adverb clause beginning with the subordinating conjunction whenever.) The sea builds a new coast, and waves of living creatures surge against it. 5. (Make this sentence more concise by dropping the subject and the verb was from the adverb clause.) Although she was exhausted after the long drive home, Pinky insisted on going to work. 6. (Move the adverb clause to the beginning of the sentence, and make the sentence more concise by reducing the adverb clause to a phrase.) Clutching his teddy bear, the boy hid under the bed because he was frightened by the lightning and thunder. 7. (Emphasize the contrast in this sentence by converting the first main clause into an adverb clause beginning with although.) Teachers who contend with blank or hostile minds deserve our sympathy, and those who teach without sensitivity and imagination deserve our criticism. 8. (Omit the semicolon and convert the first two main clauses into an adverb clause beginning with after.) The storm has passed, and the flash floods dump their loads of silt into the Colorado River; water still remains in certain places on rimrock, canyon beach, and mesa top. Answers to Sentence Revising with Adverb Clauses 1. Although it looks peaceful, the forest supports incessant warfare, most of which is hidden and silent. 2. Billy Pilgrim, while he was on maneuvers in South Carolina, played hymns he knew from childhood. 3. While on maneuvers in South Carolina, Billy Pilgrim played hymns he knew from childhood. 4. Whenever the sea builds a new coast, waves of living creatures surge against it. 5. Although exhausted after the long drive home, Pinky insisted on going to work. 6. Frightened by the lightning and thunder, the boy hid under the bed, clutching his teddy bear. 7. Although teachers who contend with blank or hostile minds deserve our sympathy, those who teach without sensitivity and imagination deserve our criticism. 8. After the storm has passed, and the flash floods dump their loads of silt into the Colorado River, water still remains in certain places on rimrock, canyon beach, and mesa top.
Building Sentences with Adverb Clauses (part three)
As discussed in part one and part two, adverb clauses are subordinate structures that show the relationship and relative importance of ideas in sentences. They explain such things as when, where, and why about an action stated in the main clause. Here we'll practice building and combining sentences with adverb clauses.
Practice Exercise: Building & Combining Sentences with Adverb Clauses
Combine the sentences in each set below by turning the sentence(s) in bold into an adverb clause. Begin the adverb clause with an appropriate subordinating conjunction. When you are done, compare your new sentences
with the sample combinations at the bottom of the page, keeping in mind that multiple combinations are possible. Example: Sailors wear earrings. The earrings are made of gold. Sailors always carry the cost of a burial. They carry the cost on their own bodies. Combination 1: So that they always carry the cost of a burial on their bodies, sailors wear gold earrings. Combination 2: Sailors wear gold earrings so that they always carry the cost of a burial on their bodies.
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