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UNDERSTANDING

SENTENCE STRUCTURE

By Art Rekhtin

Based on “Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and

Communicating in the Work Place” by Meyer, Sebranek, and

Van rys

Outline of Presentation

Part 1 : TYPES OF CLAUSES

A. Independent vs dependent clauses

B. Adverb clauses

C. Adjective clauses

D. Noun clauses

Part 2 : TYPES OF SENTENCES

A. Simple

B. Compound

C. Complex

D. Complex-compound

Part 3: CONCLUSION

Part 1 : Independent Clause

AN INDEPENDENT CLAUSE has both a subject

and a predicate and expresses a complete thought; it can stand alone.

EXAMPLE:

An answering machine can record messages, but voice mail

can do so much more.

Part 1 : Dependent Clause

A DEPENDENT CLAUSE cannot stand alone. It

can, however, add important details to a sentence.

EXAMPLE:

When there is no one available

to take calls, your voicemail can take messages.

Part 1 : Adverb Clause

AN ADVERB CLAUSE answers how? where?

when? why? how much? or under what

condition? Adverb clauses begin with a subordinating conjunction (e.g. „if‟)

EXAMPLE:

When your sales staff is on the

road, voicemail enables you to leave timely messages.

Part 1 : Adjective Clause

AN ADJECTIVE CLAUSE is used to modify a

noun or a pronoun by answering the

questions what kind? or which one?

EXAMPLE:

The person who invented the

telephone would marvel at communications today.

Part 1 : Noun Clause

A NOUN CLAUSE is used as a noun and can be

used as a subject, an object, or a complement.

EXAMPLE:

What made voice mail work was

combining the telephone and

the computer.

Part 2 : Simple Sentences

A SIMPLE SENTENCE has only one clause.

Therefore, it has only one subject and predicate.

EXAMPLE:

The subject or the predicate may be single or

compound.

My dogs bark. (simple subject/simple predicate) My dogs and my cat fraternize. (cS; sP) Their barking and yowling can startle and annoy. (cS;cP)

Part 2 : Compound Sentences

A COMPOUND SENTENCE has two or more

independent clauses without any dependent clauses.

They are most often joined by a coordinating

conjunction, punctuation or both.

Note: FANBOYS is a mnemonic device for

coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)

Part 2 : Compound Sentences

EXAMPLES:

The dogs get weekly baths, so what is that smell?

It can‟t be the cat; Missy is a fastidious self- groomer.

Also correlative conjunctions can be used.

Either the dogs got into the garbage or

Missy‟s been mouse hunting

Part 2 : Complex Sentences

A COMPLEX SENTENCE has only one

independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

Examples:

When the weather is nice, I walk the dogs

for several miles.

When we get to the parkway, and if there are only a few people around, Felix and

Hairy can run free.

Part 2 : Compound-Complex Sentences

A COMPOUND-COMPLEX SENTENCE has two

or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

If I‟m feeling spunky, I run, too, but I can

never keep up with my dogs

CONCLUSION

In general, varying sentence structure

will enhance your writing style, making

it more interesting and engaging.

Remember, though, that clarity is still

the single most important quality of

good writing!

Thank you!