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Clauses

An overview of the common clause forms and mistakes.
by

Drew Olson

on 6 May 2011

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Transcript of Clauses

There are many types of clauses. Clauses are
simply a part of speech or a part of a sentence,
but clauses have a verb and its subject within it, which
makes it different from a phrase, which does not
have a verb and its subject. Independent Clause
(or Main Clause) Group of words that
contain a subject and verb
and can stand alone as a sentence. EX: The cards scattered on the floor, and I had to pick them all up.
Let's punctuation the first half the sentence
as if it were a stand-alone sentence. The cards scattered on the floor. Does the sentence have a subject? Yes: cards Does the sentence have a verb? Yes: scattered Does the sentence express a complete thought, and if so,
is it punctuated correctly? Yes it does, and it is punctuated correctly.
Therefore it is a sentence. What about the second half of the original sentence?
The cards scattered on the floor, and I had to pick them all up. I had to pick them all up. Is this a complete sentence?
Does it have a subject, a verb, and
express a complete thought?
Yes it does. So, the original sentence:
The cards scattered on the floor, and I had to pick them all up.
Is a sentence comprised of TWO, independent clauses connected with a conjuction. Viola! Subordinate Clause
or (Dependent Clause) Group of words that contain a subject and verb, but CAN'T stand alone as a
sentence. EX: I had just alphabetized
the cards when they fell on the
floor and scattered everywhere. In order for a subordinate clause to make any
sense, it has to be attached to an indpendent
clause. Let's look at the first half of the sentence: I had just alphabetized the cards. Does it have a subject, a verb, and does it
express a complete thought? Yes, so then it can stand alone, and hence, is an independent clause. But... Let's look at the second half:
When they fell on the floor and scattered everywhere. Does it have a subject?
Yes - they
Does it have a verb?
Yes, two - fell and scattered
Does it express a complete thought? No.
When they fell on the floor and scattered everywhere.

Well, then what? This does not express a complete thought, but
it does contain a subject and a verb, so its a subordinate clause
since it can't stand alone as a sentence. A subordinate clause relies on an independent clause
to make sense. It's secondary, subordinate to the independent clause. There are 3 types of subordinate clauses:
adjective clause, noun clause, and adverb clause. An adjective clause modifies of describes
a noun or pronoun just like an adjective. Many times an adjective clause begins with
who, whose, whom, which or that EX: That man, whom I went to high school with,
walked right by as if he'd never met me. whom I went to high school with
is the adjective clause, it modifies the noun man A noun clause acts like a noun. John's friends didn't know that he couldn't drive. What is the verb? Know.
that he couldn't drive is the object of the verb, know.
Hence, that he couldn't drive is a noun clause.
But careful! Sometimes that doesn't appear to
clue you in on the clause, it's absent sometimes.
EX: John's friends didn't know he couldn't drive. Adverb clauses modify or desribe a
verb, adjective, or another adverb. EX: Mr. Sylvester came to visit
because he needed some company for the evening Adverb clauses are introduced by a
subordinating conjuction like
after, although, as (if), because, once, until, and while. because he needed some company for the evening
modifies the verb, visit. Finally, clauses are also divided into
two other categories:
restrictive and non-restrictive clauses. Restrictive clauses are essential
to the meaning of the sentence,
but non-restricitve clauses DO NOT
change the basic meaning of the sentence. Restrictive Clause EX:
The car that I was driving was stolen. Non-restrictive clause EX: The car,
which was stolen last Saturday,
has been found. What is the basic meaning of the last sentence?
That the car has been found, right?
So, which was stolen last Saturday,
is non-essential information, and hence,
it is a non-restrictive clause.
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