Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The clause

!
The Clause
Recognize a clause when
you see one.
Clauses come in four
types: main [or
independent],
subordinate [or
dependent], adjective
[or relative] , and noun .
Every clause has at least
a subject and a verb .
Other characteristics
will help you distinguish
one type of clause from
another.
Main Clauses
Every main
clause will follow
this pattern:
subject + verb
= complete
thought.
Here are some
examples:
Lazy students
whine.
Students =
subject; whine
= verb.
Cola spilled
over the glass
and splashed
onto the
counter.
Cola = subject;
spilled ,
splashed =
verbs.
My dog loves
pizza crusts.
Dog = subject;
loves = verb.
The important
point to
remember is that
every sentence
must have at least
one main clause.
Otherwise, you
have a fragment ,
a major error.
Subordinate Clauses
A subordinate
clause
will follow this
pattern:
subordinate
conjunction +
subject + verb
= incomplete
thought.
Here are some
examples:
Whenever lazy
students whine
Whenever =
subordinate
conjunction;
students =
subject; whine
= verb.
As cola spilled
over the glass
and splashed
onto the
counter
As =
subordinate
conjunction;
cola = subject;
spilled ,
splashed =
verbs.
Because my
dog loves pizza
crusts
Because =
subordinate
conjunction;
dog = subject;
loves = verb.
The important
point to
remember about
subordinate
clauses is that
they can never
stand alone as
complete
sentences. To
complete the
thought, you must
attach each
subordinate
clause to a main
clause. Generally,
the punctuation
looks like this:
main clause +
Ø +
subordinate
clause.
subordinate
clause + , +
main clause.
Check out these
revisions to the
subordinate
clauses above:
Whenever
lazy students
whine , Mrs.
Russell throws
chalk erasers
at their heads.
Anthony ran for
the paper
towels as cola
spilled over
the glass and
splashed onto
the counter.
Because my
dog loves
pizza crusts ,
he never barks
at the
deliveryman.
Relative Clauses
A relative clause
will begin with a
relative pronoun
[such as who ,
whom, whose,
which , or that ] or
a relative adverb
[ when, where , or
why ]. The
patterns look like
these:
relative
pronoun or
adverb +
subject + verb
= incomplete
thought.
relative
pronoun as
subject + verb
= incomplete
thought.
Here are some
examples:
Whom Mrs.
Russell hit in
the head with a
chalk eraser
Whom =
relative
pronoun; Mrs.
Russell =
subject; hit =
verb.
Where he
chews and
drools with
great
enthusiasm
Where =
relative adverb ;
he = subject;
chews , drools
= verbs.
That had
spilled over the
glass and
splashed onto
the counter
That = relative
pronoun; had
spilled ,
splashed =
verbs.
Who loves
pizza crusts
Who = relative
pronoun; loves
= verb.
Like subordinate
clauses, relative
clauses cannot
stand alone as
complete
sentences. You
must connect
them to main
clauses to finish
the thought. Look
at these revisions
of the relative
clauses above:
The lazy
students
whom Mrs.
Russell hit in
the head with
a chalk eraser
soon learned
to keep their
complaints to
themselves.
My dog Floyd,
who loves
pizza crusts ,
eats them
under the
kitchen table,
where he
chews and
drools with
great
enthusiasm.
Anthony ran to
get paper
towels for the
cola that had
spilled over
the glass and
splashed onto
the counter.
Punctuating
relative clauses
can be tricky. You
have to decide if
the relative clause
is essential or
nonessential and
then use commas
accordingly.
Essential
relative clauses
do not require
commas. A
relative clause is
essential when
you need the
information it
provides. Look at
this example:
A dog that
eats too
much pizza
will soon
develop
pepperoni
breath.
Dog is
nonspecific. To
know which dog
we are talking
about, we must
have the
information in the
relative clause.
Thus, the relative
clause is essential
and requires no
commas.
If, however, we
revise dog and
choose more
specific words
instead, the
relative clause
becomes
nonessential and
does require
commas to
separate it from
the rest of the
sentence. Read
this revision:
My dog Floyd ,
who eats too
much pizza,
has developed
pepperoni
breath.
Noun Clauses
Any clause that
functions as a
noun becomes a
noun clause.
Look at this
example:
You really do
not want to
know the
ingredients in
Aunt Nancy's
stew.
Ingredients =
noun.
If we replace the
noun ingredients
with a clause, we
have a noun
clause:
You really do
not want to
know what
Aunt Nancy
adds to her
stew .
What Aunt
Nancy adds
to her stew =
noun clause.
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