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Episode IV: Clauses and Sentence Structure
Grammar for Grade 9 Episode IV: Clauses and Sentence Structure
Four Types of Sentences
There are four types of sentences: Declarative sentences, or statements Interrogative sentences, or questions Imperative sentences, or commands Exclamatory sentences, or exclamations
End with a period, sometimes called a “full stop” State facts or opinions and can be long or short Most sentences are declarative. For example: I have never eaten kohlrabi. Although Thomas is older than Eileen, she is taller than he is. Going to the library is more fun than going to the beach.
End with a question mark: ? Generally employ an interrogative word (who, what, when, etc) or verb inversion (“Are you going to sit?” instead of “You are going to sit.” Examples: Why don’t you sit down? What were you doing out so late? Did you think you were going to get away with this? Are you going to cry?
Imperative Sentences Make a command or request and end with a period.
Brian, close the door. May not have an expressed subject. Since the speaker is commanding “you” to do something, the understood subject is “you”. Close the door. While the sentence doesn’t say who is supposed to do the closing, the subject is “you”: whoever the speaker is talking to.
Express strong emotion, or powerful feelings. End with an exclamation mark: ! Never use more than one exclamation mark (or a mixture of exclamation and question marks) in formal writing. I’m leaving! We beat the other team 24-7! Get out of here! Notice that this is also an imperative sentence...it’s an order that is being expressed with strong emotion.
Fragments (Sentence Error)
Sentence fragments Are incomplete sentences that are punctuated as though they are complete. Can be missing a subject, verb, or complete thought. Examples: Ran quickly to the store. Bob and Louis in the ballpark at noon Even though I told them not to.
Run-On (Sentence Error)
The most common sentence error, run-on sentences happen when more than one complete thought is punctuated as though it was only one sentence. Example: He ate lunch I didn’t.
Run-Ons (Continued) Comma splices are a special type of run-on. They happen when two sentences are joined together with just a comma. Example: It has been such a long time, I can’t tell you how glad I am to see you. Run-ons also happen if the comma before a coordinating conjunction that joins together two main clauses is left out. Burkina Faso is its new name but many books still list it by its old name of Upper Volta.
Sentence Errors Professional writers sometimes use fragments and/or run-on sentences for effect. However, you should avoid them. Your teacher will likely assume that you didn’t notice them, and your grades might suffer.
Clauses A clause is a group of words which has a subject and a verb.
If the clause can stand on its own as a sentence (if it contains a complete thought), it is called an independent clause. Examples: I told you we’d win the game! Grammar really isn’t that hard.
Clauses II A clause which does not contain a complete thought is called a dependent clause. Dependent clauses usually have a subordinating conjunction to make them dependent. Examples: Although I told you we’d win the game Since grammar isn’t that hard
Clauses and Sentence Errors
Students often put a period at the end of a dependent clause, which results in a fragment error. Don’t. Other times, they put two independent clauses together and create run-ons. Avoid this, too.
Sentence Structure There are four ways to put a sentence together. From least complicated to most complicated, they are Simple sentences Compound sentences Complex sentences Compound-complex sentences
Simple Sentences Simple sentences have one main clause. Examples:
The dog bit the trainer. The dog and the cat bit the trainer. Simple sentence with compound subject The dog bit and scratched the trainer. Simple sentence with compound predicate The mangy dog and the scruffy, yowling cat viciously bit and scratched the cruel, underpaid trainer. Expanded simple sentence with compound subject, compound predicate and modifiers
Compound Sentences A compound sentence has two or more main clauses, joined by a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon. Examples: The dog bit, but the cat scratched. The dog bit; the cat scratched.
Complex Sentences A complex sentence has one main (independent) clause, and a subordinate (dependent) clause connected to it. These clauses must be connected correctly. Follow the Isadora Duncan rule. Duncan, Isadora [If the dependent clause is first, use a comma between it and the independent clause.] Isadora Duncan [There is no comma between the clauses when the independent clause is first.]
These are sentences which have both subordinate clauses AND more than one independent clause. Example: While I was pulling out to drive to the beach, I accidentally hit the recycling bin at the end of my driveway, but I didn’t do any damage to my car. Green: subordinate clause, blue: independent clause, red: second independent clause with coordinating conjunction.
Adjectival Clauses An adjectival (or adjective) clause modifies a noun or a pronoun, so the whole clause functions like an adjective. It normally follows the word it modifies. An essential, or restrictive clause is one that is necessary for the meaning of the sentence. The person who parked in the driveway should move the car immediately.
Adjectival Clauses II A nonessential, or nonrestrictive clause contains information that is not necessary for the meaning of the sentence. These adjective clauses are set off with commas. Katmandu, which is the capital of Nepal, is the home of many famous temples.
Adverbial Clauses Adverbial, or adverb clauses, modify verbs, adjectives or adverbs, and are introduced by subordinating conjunctions, such as since although because when wherever after before while whenever An adverb clause with some words left out is called elliptical. The omitted words can easily be filled in because they are implied. I have never heard a better pianist than she [is].
Noun Clauses Noun clauses can perform any function that nouns can perform. Whoever can sing well may try out for the part. Subject She couldn’t decide which she liked best. Direct object The argument caused a misunderstanding about when the lights should have been turned off. Object of a preposition Sometimes the relative pronoun used to introduce a noun clause is omitted. I believe [that] the wallet belongs to you.
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