Subordinate clauses, which we have already
talked briefly about, are clauses which are subordinated to the main clause of
the sentences, and which are introduced by subordinating conjunctions – words
like if, after, although, so that, when,
unless, and so on. (See page 145 in your text for a refresher.)
Like all dependent clauses, subordinated
clauses have both a subject and a finite verb, but their meaning is incomplete.
When we combine the simple
sentence types we’ve already looked at – sentence type I, II, III, IV, and V –
into more complex sentence, we do this through a process that grammarians call
To begin with, all English sentences – indeed, all sentences
in all human languages, so far as we have encountered them – divide into
subject and predicate.
That is to say, all English sentences tell us about a topic (a
person, a thing, an idea, whatever), and then tell us something about that
As a speaker of English, you already know about this division,
and you’ll probably find you can divide sentences into subjects and predicates
quite easily. Where would you put the division in these sentences, for
traditional grammar, pronouns are often classified with nouns. But a little thought
shows us that nouns and pronouns have very different forms. Pronouns also
function somewhat differently than nouns do.
qualifier precedes an adjective or adverb, modifying it by increasing or
decreasing its quality. In that respect, a qualifier is a kind of adverb (since
it always modifies something other than a noun). However, it is not a true
adverb, but a structure class word.
verbs provide grammatical information about the main verb. Specifically, these
verb indicate information about tense, mood, and voice. (We’ll talk about all
of this in more depth later on.) You may have heard these verbs called “helping
far, we have been looking at Form Class Words – nouns, verbs, adjectives, and
adverbs. To review, form class words are words that can change their shape by
accepting morphemes. So a noun, like dog,
can become dogs; and an adjective
like happy can become happier, or unhappy.
we move further into the book, we’ll start using sentence diagramming, both the
Reed-Kellogg method and tree diagrams. Your book on pages 106-108 introduces
you to this method, but you can learn more at this link.
Prototypical v. Peripheral:
grammar as in life, our categories leak. When, for instance, we are sorting
fiction into boxes labeled fantasy and boxes labeled science fiction, we will
find some examples that clearly go in one box or the other – Lord of the Rings, The Left Hand of Darkness
– but others will fall in a grey area: Anne McCaffery’s Pern novels, for
First, the good news. If
you’re a native speaker of English, you already know English grammar.
native speaker of English over the age of two or three (at least those without
some sort of developmental issue) knows English grammar by the time they reach
the age of two or three years old, though they may still be refining certain
points well into their fourth year.