Most students who enter Writing Workshop know a fair amount of English-language grammar, but most students do not have a good idea of how it fits together. The aim of this unit is to define the different grammatical parts which explain sentence grammar, and then show you how they fit together and how you can use them to make clear and concise sentences for your essays.
Sentences are made up of a subject and a predicate.
The subject is a noun, pronoun, or a phrase or clause which acts like a noun.
The predicate is everything in the sentence aside from the subject. A simple predicate is just the verb phrase; the complete predicate includes the complement.
A complement is the part of the predicate aside from the verb phrase. It can include the direct object, indirect object, subject complement, or the object complement.
Forms of Sentences
A clause is a simple sentence, with a subject and a predicate. Clauses can be either independent (they can stand alone) or dependent (they require an independent clause).
There are four basic sentence forms:
- Simple: One independent clause
- Compound: Two or more independent clauses but no dependent clauses
- Complex: One independent clause plus one or more dependent clauses
- Compound-Complex: Two or more independent clauses plus one or more dependent clauses
There are three types of dependent clauses:
- Noun (nominal): acts as a noun, begins with if, that, or a wh-word such as what or why
- Adjective (relative): follows and modifies a noun phrase; is usually introduced with relative pronouns, esp. who, that, or which
- Adverb (adverbial): modifies independent clauses, usually answering questions including when, where, why, and how
Phrases are smaller parts of sentences, which together make up clauses. Phrases are different from clauses in that they are less complete; a phrase may contain a noun or a verb (predicate), but not both.
We will study eight types of phrases:
- Noun: a simple noun with modifiers
- Verb: a simple verb with helping verbs and modifiers
- Gerund: a verbal; acts as a noun, uses -ing form
- Infinitive: a verbal; acts as a noun or modifier, uses to + basic verb form
- Participial: a verbal; acts as a modifier, uses participial form (-ing or -ed)
- Prepositional: a preposition followed by an object; used as a modifier
- Appositive: A double noun phrase; both refer to the same thing, one is more specific
- Absolute: a noun phrase followed by a participial or prepositional phrase; used as a modifier
There are four types of conjunction:
- Coordinating conjunctions: used within a sentence, to join words, phrases, or clauses. When joining clauses, the two clauses are both independent.
- Subordinating conjunctions: used within a sentence to join an dependent adverbial clause with an independent clause. The conjunction usually appears at the beginning of the dependent clause. When the dependent clause begins the sentence, the clause is followed by a comma.
- Conjunctive adverbs: connect sentences, parts of a paragraph, paragraphs, or groups of paragraphs. Sometimes referred to as logical connectors
- Correlative conjunctions: joins two equal words or goups of words in a sentence; the correlative conjunction begins both parts.