Sentence Structure

A Sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete idea and that includes a subject and a verb.

A Simple sentence is a sentence with one independent clause and no dependent clauses.

For example: My name is Maria. The position of the subject need not be in the beginning of the sentence. It can be anywhere in the sentence, in the beginning, center or at the end.

Different ways to structure a simple sentence: Single subject + single verb: Maria is dancing. Compound subject + single verb: Janet and David are dancing. Single subject + compound verb: Frank is singing and dancing. A compound sentence is composed of two simple sentences joined together by a comma and a coordinating adjective/a semicolon/ semicolon with a conjunctive adverb. They are in fact two complete sentences which can stand alone.

Mr. Wilson listens to the news every night, and then he goes to bed. A sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause is called a complex sentence.

The town where I grew up is in New York. The subordinate clause in a complex sentence can take either beginning, middle or end positions. Subordinate clause followed by main clause Ex: When the music started, the children began dancing. Main clause followed by subordinate clause Ex: The old man continued his journey though he was tired. Subordinate clauses also can be put in the middle of the main clause Ex: Ann, who had a bad cold, sang beautifully.

A phrase is a group of related words without both subject and verb. It can function as a noun, verb, adverb, adjective or preposition in a sentence. Depending on their function and the construction of words they are divided into several kinds such as noun phrase, verb phrase, prepositional phrase, participial phrase, etc.

A noun phrase consists of a noun accompanied by its modifiers. The modifiers may be adjectives, conjunctions, other nouns, prepositional phrases, or any other words that apply directly to the noun.

An adverbial phrase is a group of two or more words that together function adverbially. Adverbial phrases that have both subjects and predicates are usually referred to as adverbial clauses.

A prepositional phrase is a phrase consisting of a preposition, its prepositional object, and any words modifying that object. A clause is a larger word group that includes a little more information. A clause contains a subject and a predicate. It may be either a sentence (an independent clause) or a sentence-like construction within another sentence (a dependent clause).

An independent clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate. An independent clause (unlike a dependent clause) can stand alone as a sentence. By itself, an independent clause (also known as a main clause) is a simple sentence.

A dependent clause used as an adverb within a sentence to indicate time, place, condition, contrast, concession, reason, purpose, or result is known as an adverb/adverbial clause. An adverb clause begins with a subordinating conjunction (such as if, when, because, or although) and includes a subject and a predicate.

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