Clauses and Phrases. How to know them when you see them! How they work to make more complex sentences!

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Clauses and Phrases

How to know them when you see them!

How they work to make more complex

sentences!

Why it’s important to use them in your

writing!

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What’s a CLAUSE?

Clauses are clusters of words.

Clauses contain a subject and verb.

• If they form complete thoughts, we call them independent clauses.

• If they form incomplete thoughts, we call them dependent

or subordinate clauses.

Example: While we collected the data, the temperature gradually increased.

• The subject and verb in the dependent clause:

we collected

• The subject and verb in the independent clause:

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How is a PHRASE different

from a CLAUSE?

Phrases

are also word clusters, but…

Phrases

are groups of words that LACK either a

subject or verb/predicate.

Phrases

may lack BOTH a subject and a verb

Example:

While collecting data

, we noted an

increase in temperature.

Notice how the

phrase

is similar to the

dependent

clause

from the last example:

While collecting data

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Examples of Clauses

Look for

independent clauses and

dependent

or

subordinate clauses

• Roger went to Japan last summer.

• After he went to Japan

, Roger went to

Korea.

Roger is the man

who went to Japan

last

summer.

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Examples of Phrases

Notice how these sentences are similar, but

they use

phrases

instead of

clauses

• After Japan,

Roger went to Korea.

• After going to Japan,

Roger went to Korea.

• Having gone to Japan

, Roger went to

Korea.

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Phrases VS Clauses

Watch how

clauses

can be reduced to

phrases

:

The man

who is going to Japan

is Roger.

The man

going to Japan

is Roger.

When he was traveling

to Japan

, Roger met Lori.

When traveling to Japan

, Roger met Lori.

When he was in Japan

, Roger ate sashimi.

When in Japan

, Roger ate sashimi.

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Why are phrases and

clauses important?

They are building blocks for sentences

Putting phrases and clauses in your

sentences adds important information

Putting phrases and clauses in your writing

varies your sentence structure and makes

you sound like a more mature writer

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Varied Sentence

Structure

Basic Sentence Structure Example:

My mother is usually reasonable. Today she was

cranky. I think I did something to make her mad.

I was going to ask her about it. I think she will

yell at me though.

This writing sound immature because of the simple

sentence structure. What would you do with these

sentences to vary the sentence structure?

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Varied Sentence

Structure

What if we simply combine sentences?

Mature/Varied Sentence Structure Example:

Today my mother, who is usually a reasonable

person, is cranky. I think I did something to make

her mad, and if I didn’t think it would make her

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What Do You Have to Know to Be

Able to Write with Mature

Sentence Structure?

You have to be able to find phrases,

dependent clauses, and independent

clauses

You have to know rules for

PUNCTUATION

Knowing the parts of speech (nouns,

pronouns, adjectives…) will help!

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How to Find Independent

Clauses—Step 1!

Find the verb first! Ask yourself, what is being done in the sentence?

• If you don’t see an action verb, remember that there are different forms of verbs:

• Be (am is, was were)

• Do, does, did

• Have, has, had, have been, has been, had been

• Shall, will, should, would

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How to Find Independent

Clauses—Step 2!

Once you find the verb, find the

subject of the sentence. Ask

yourself:

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Step 1: Verbs

• Without the help of the guides, he would have left if his friend were ready to go.

• After class, we drove to McDonald’s.

• During our teacher’s absence, who will take charge of the class?

• He was working on his homework far too late into the night.

• The man on his bike was knocked down by the speeding car.

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Step 2: Nouns

• Without the help of the guides, he would have left if his friend were ready to go.

• After class, we drove to McDonald’s.

• During our teacher’s absence, who will take charge of the class?

• He was working on his homework far too late into the night.

• The man on his bike was knocked down by the speeding car.

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Important note!

Just because you find a verb and a

noun, does not mean you have an

independent clause!

Example:

If our teacher wore blue, neon striped

moon boots.

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Fragments

Fragments occur when a subject or

predicate is left out of the writing. A

sentence fragment is a common

writing mistake.

To find fragments in your writing,

follow the three steps!

Figure

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References

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