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Sentence Structure in Language Analysis Sentences can have the following structures: Subject-Verb -Object, or S -V- O - Indirect Object, or S -V -Complement. e.g. "Locket kicked the ball." ; "Locket kicked the ball to O'Loughlin"; "Lockett played superbly." Sentences can be grammatically simple, compound, complex or multiple. A simple sentence consists of one principal clause. e.g. " A merchant had much property to sell." One could say that a simple sentence expresses one idea. A clause is any group of words which contains a finite verb- that is, a verb with a subject, or to make things clearer, an action and a doer of that action. So a clause expresses an action or state of affairs. A single clause is the minimum requirement for sentence completeness; that is, a single clause is necessary to express a proposition (something that could be t/f). A compound sentence is just two or more principal clauses joined together: e.g. "Jack fell down and Jill came tumbling after." The joining word "and" is called a co-ordinating conjunction: here"are some others: but, either...or, neither...nor, however, nevertheless; or. A complex sentence consists of a principal clause which expresses the main idea of the sentence,together with other clauses (i.e. groups of words with finite verbs and therefore containing doers and actions) which help clarify or extend the meaning of the principal clause. They do this by adding to the meaning of particular words in the principal clause, or by themselves standing in the place of single words. So a Noun Clause will stand in the Subject or Object position normally occupied by a noun or a pronoun. An adjectival clause will do the job of an adjective for some noun in the principal clause, and an adverb clause will do the job of an adverb for some verb in the principal clause. Here are some examples: That you found your way here is really suprising. The group of words underlined is a NOUN CLAUSE. Yu can see that it stands in the SUBJECT position in the sentence and is ating as a NOUN. The machinery which is in the shed needs servicing. This group of words is an ADJECTIVE CLAUSE. It acts as an adjective hy describing "the machinery". I was washing the car when you called, so I didn't realise that the phone was ringing. The sections in bold are ADVERBIAL CLAUSES. The fIrst one tells us ~ I was washing the car, so is an adverbial clause of time. The second explains that I didn't hear the phone ring ~ I was washing the car, so is an adverbial clause of result. The underlined section is a NOUN CLAUSE. You can see that it stands in the OBJECT position in the clause of which it is a part. A multiple sentence is where one or more of the parts of a compound sentence has itself a complex structure- i.e.contains adverb, adjective or noun clauses. Sentences can also be Periodic or Loose, Active or Passive. A loose sentence achieves grammatical completeness and then carries on, whereas a periodic sentence keeps you in suspense until the end, e.g. LOOSE: A man can be destroyed; he cannot be defeated. He did not know what the world stood for, nor what the universe meant. PERIODIC: Though a man can be destroyed, he cannot be defeated. He knew neither what the world stood for, nor what the universe meant. The ACTIVE VOICE construction puts the doer of the action first. e.g. The hunter shot the fox. In the PASSIVE VOICE construction the doer of the action is masked by being placed at the end of the sentence, and may even drop out altogether, e.g. The fox was shot by the hunter. (This sentence will still be grammatically complete if we leave the hunter out altogether, e.g. The fox was shot.) As you can imagine this construction is much loved by bureaucrats, who can avoid taking responsibility for their decisionS e.g. "It has been decided by this committee."
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