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Clause ,phrase and sentence Empty Clause ,phrase and sentence

on 2012-06-08, 09:32
Clause, phrase and sentence
The basic unit of English grammar is the clause:

*[An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]
*[when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.]
*[William Brown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother]
*[and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.]


Clauses are made up of phrases:

*[An unlucky student] + [almost lost] + [a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]
*[when] + [he] + + [it] + [in the waiting room of a London station.]

*[William Brown] + [inherited] + [the 1698 Stradivarius violin] + [from his mother]
*[and][had just had it valued] + [by a London dealer] + [at £180,000.]

We can join two or more clauses together to make sentences.

*An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000 when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.
*WilliamBrown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.

clause structure

All clauses in English have at least two parts: a noun phrase and a verb phrase:


Noun phrase (subject)

Verb phrase

The children
All the people in the bus


laughed
were watching



But most clauses have more than two parts:

Noun phrase (subject)

Verb phrase





The children
John
All of the girls
This soup
Mary and the family
She


laughed
wanted
are learning
tastes
were driving
put



a new bicycle
English
awful
to Madrid
the flowers







in a vase



The first noun phrase is the subject of the sentence:

*The children laughed.
*John wanted a new bicycle.
*All the girls are learning English.
*She put the flowers in the vase.


English clauses always have a subject:

*His father has just retired. Was a teacher. He was a teacher.
*I’m waiting for my wife. Is late. She is late.


except for the imperative which is used to give orders:

Stop!
Go away
.
and for "soft imperatives" like invitations and requests:

*Please come to dinner tomorrow.
*Play it again please.


If we have no other subject we use "there" or "it"as subject. We call this a ‘dummy subject’:

*There were twenty people at the meeting..
*There will be an eclipse of the moon tonight.

*It’s a lovely day.
*It’s nearly one o’clock.
*I have toothache. It hurts a lot.
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