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Sentence structure

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Anamarija Štulina

on 8 November 2013

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Transcript of Sentence structure

Academic Langugae
Simple sentences
Simple sentences in English must have a
subject (s)
and a
verb (v)
. Most sentences also include an
object (o)
The subject
is a noun or a noun phrase, and tells you what or who the sentence is about.
The verb
tells you what the subject is or does.
The object
is also a noun or a noun phrase, and is affected by the action of the verb.
Compound sentences
Complex sentence
A complex sentence is made up of one main clause, which can stand alone, plus one (or) more adverbial clauses.
Adverbial clauses are a type of adverbial. They start with a subordinator and normally contain a subject, verb, and sometimes other clause elements. These clauses are also known as 'subordinate clauses', which need to go with a 'main clause'.


human behaviour.
s v o



different experiences of studying
s v o
Cognitive processes

thinking and problem-solving
s v o
Clause elements
Clause elements (
) can vary in length and form.

The subject
can be very short, often a pronoun, e.g.
raises ethical questions.

Often when
the subject
is short,
the object
can be long, e.g.
Schema theory
what we already know will influence the outcome of information processing.

Less frequently,
the subject
is very long, e.g.
Morrow's criticism of the lack of endevour by journalists and news corporations


little influence on the commercialiazation of news

The longer the subject, the more difficult it is to process the meaning of a sentence.
Clause and clause elements
Clause elements are used to build up sentences, and they can take many different forms.
A clause is normally built around a verb, and usually contains other clause elements.
A sentence contains one or more clauses.
Two closely related simple sentences can be joined together to make a compound sentence.
Three of the most common words (
) for joining simple sentences together are:
- for addition
- for contrast
- for alternatives

Each simple sentence then becomes an independent part (or clause) of a compund sentence.


People have different experiences
therefore they have different mental representations
clause 1 clause 2
compund sentence

People have different experiences
Therefore they have different mental representations
simple sentence 1 simple sentence 2

There are a large number of subordinators in English which express a wide range of meanings, for example:

- when, while

- where, wherever

- as, like

- because since

- so that, in order to

- although, even though

- while, whereas

are clause elements, i.e. parts of sentences.
Averbs can normally be added to or taken out of a sentence, and may appear in different positions in the sentence.
Adverbials make up about 10% of academic texts and add information such as contextualizing detail, stance and perspective, and linking.
These drugs could
be produced
more cheaply
and sold
as generic drugs

by local companies

under licence
when? how? how? by whom? how?
for what? in what context?

Adverbials in a complex sentence / adverbial clause
It is clear that the runners must have different goals for the same event,
although this does not seem to influence their motivation to participate.
Full transcript