Grammar Basics: Sentence Parts and Sentence Structures
Methods of Shaping Words Into Sentences in English
We continue with our Grammar basics that we started last month, August 2014.
5) Four Basic Sentence Structures
There are four basic sentence structures in English:
i. A simple sentence is a sentence with just one independent clause (also called a main clause): Akinyi laughed.
ii. A compound sentence contains at least two independent clauses: Akinyi laughed and Origi cried.
iii. A complex sentence contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause: Origi cried when Akinyi laughed.
iv. A compound-complex sentence contains two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause: Akinyi laughed and Origi cried when the clowns ran past their seats.
A common way to connect related words, phrases, and even entire clauses is to coordinate them--that is, connect them with a basic coordinating conjunction such as "and" or "but."
7) Adjective Clauses
To show that one idea in a sentence is more important than another, we rely on subordination--that is, treating one word group as secondary (or subordinate) to another. One common form of subordination is the adjective clause--a word group that modifies a noun. The most common adjective clauses begin with one of these relative pronouns: who, which, and that.
An appositive is a word or group of words that identifies or renames another word in a sentence--most often a noun that immediately precedes it. Appositive constructions offer concise ways of describing or defining a person, place, or thing.
9) 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. An adverb clause begins with a subordinating conjunction--an adverb that connects the subordinate clause to the main clause.
10) Participial Phrases
A participle is a verb form used as an adjective to modify nouns and pronouns. All present participles end in -ing. The past participles of all regular verbs end in -ed. Irregular verbs, however, have various past participle endings. Participles and participial phrases can add vigor to our writing as they add information to our sentences.
11) Absolute Phrases
Among the various kinds of modifiers, the absolute phrase may be the least common but one of the most useful. An absolute phrase, which consists of a noun plus at least one other word, adds details to an entire sentence--details that often describe one aspect of someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the sentence.
12) Four Functional Types of Sentences
There are four main types of sentences that can be distinguished by their function and purpose:
i. A declarative sentence makes a statement: Babies cry.
ii. An interrogative sentence poses a question: Why do babies cry?
iii. An imperative sentence gives instructions or expresses a request or demand: Please be quiet.
iv. An exclamatory sentence expresses strong feelings by making an exclamation: Shut up!
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