Grammar Section. Sentence Structure

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1 Sentence Structure Sentences are nice little packages of words that come together to express one complete thought. They make it easy to understand ideas and learn information. In order to be a complete sentence, a group of words needs to contain a subject and a verb, and it needs to express a complete thought. If a group of words is missing any of that information, it is called a sentence fragment. If you have a group of words that contains two or more independent clauses that are not properly punctuated, it is called a run-on sentence. A basic sentence consists of a subject, a verb, and an object. Teacher called the student Subject Verb Object The Four Sentence Structures 1. A simple sentence has only one independent clause. I drink coffee. An independent clause is a group of words (with a subject and a verb) that expresses a complete thought. 2. A compound sentence has at least two independent clauses. These clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon. I eat meal, and Pari eats nuts. A coordinating conjunction is a word that joins words, phrases, or clauses together. 3. A complex sentence has a subordinate clause joined to an independent clause with a subordinating conjunction. I washed the dishes after I ate my meal. A subordinate clause is a group of words with a subject and a verb that cannot stand alone. 4. A compound-complex sentence has a two or more independent clauses and one or more subordinate clauses. Sohail explained how to teach, and we practiced his techniques at class. Sohail Ahmed Page 1

2 Subject-Verb Agreement Basic Principle: Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs. My brother is a nutritionist. My sisters are mathematicians. Rules with examples: The indefinite pronouns anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody are always singular and, therefore, require singular verbs. Everyone has done his or her homework. Somebody has left her purse. Some indefinite pronouns such as all, some are singular or plural depending on what they're referring to. (Is the thing referred to countable or not?) Be careful choosing a verb to accompany such pronouns. Some of the breads are missing. Some of the water is gone. Verbs in the present tense for third-person, singular subjects (he, she, it and anything those words can stand for) have s-endings. Other verbs do not add s- endings. He loves She loves They love I love Some words end in -s and appear to be plural but are really singular and require singular verbs. The news from the front is bad. Measles is a dangerous disease for pregnant women. Sohail Ahmed Page 2

3 Run-On Sentences If you put two sentences (or independent clauses) together without a sufficient amount of signals (commas, semicolons, or connecting words), you have created a run-on. The first thing you need to do is identify when a sentence is a run-on. A run-on (or run-on sentence) is a sentence that really has TWO sentences (or complete ideas) INCORRECTLY combined into one. It is okay to combine two sentences into one, but you must follow some rules. Examples of Run-On Sentences: 1. Rani takes the bus to school Pari rides the Car. 2. I take tea he takes coffee. 3. People love peace they hate war. 4. She wants suit I want Shoes. How do we fix run-ons? Following are Methods: 1. Write the two independent clauses as separate sentences using periods. The girls played basketball. The boys played tennis. (Correct Sentence) 2. Use a semicolon to separate the two independent clauses. The girls played basketball; the boys played tennis. (Correct Sentence) 3. Use a comma and any one of the following connecting words: for and nor but or yet so The girls played basketball, but the boys played tennis. (Correct Sentence) Sohail Ahmed Page 3

4 4. Use a semicolon and one of the following words: therefore, thus, however, consequently, furthermore, also, nevertheless, The girls played basketball; therefore, the boys played tennis. (Correct Sentence) s A sentence fragment is a sentence that lacks a subject or lacks a verb or is not a complete idea (one reason could be because it does not have a direct object if the verb needs one). After reading Fragments sentences, the reader asks questions because he/she needs more information. Examples: Since he came to Karachi. Because my cousin loves it. Unless you watch it. Since he came to Karachi. Because my cousin loves it. Unless you watch it. The Reader Asks... Since he came, what (has he been doing)? Because the cousin loves it, (so what)? Unless you watch it. (what will happen)? How do we fix sentence fragments:? 3 ways to fix sentence fragments: Sohail Ahmed Page 4

5 Following are Methods to fix the sentence fragments: 1. Attach the sentence fragment to another sentence. That other sentence could be before or after the sentence fragment. Fixed and Now a Complete Sentence I felt much better after seeing the doctor. After seeing the doctor. -or- After seeing the doctor, I felt much better. 2. Add a subject, verb, or both to make the sentence complete. Under the bed. Fixed and Now a Complete Sentence I found my socks under the bed. 3. Take away the word or phrase that makes it a sentence fragment. (but make sure the meaning does not change) While Sahil was in Lahore. Fixed and Now a Complete Sentence Sahil was in Lahore. Sohail Ahmed Page 5

6 Cohesive devices Cohesive devices are typically single words or phrases that basically make the text hang together. By analogy, they are much like the seams in our clothing which keep items like jackets and trousers together. Three elementary examples of cohesive devices are word repetition, synonyms and pronouns. Word repetition Synonyms Pronouns Parallel Structure Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level. The usual way to join parallel structures is with the use of coordinating conjunctions such as "and" or "or." Words and Phrases With the -ing form (gerund) of words: Parallel: Pari likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling. With infinitive phrases: Parallel: Sahil likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle. OR Sahil likes to hike, swim, and ride a bicycle. Different between Parallel and not parallel Not Parallel: Pari likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle. Parallel: Pari likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle. Sohail Ahmed Page 6

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