The various parts of speech are grouped into phrases and clauses which make up the basic sentence.
Phrases are groups of related words that do not contain a subject-verb combination or express a complete thought. There are noun, prepositional, participial, verb, and infinitive phrases.
- Noun: my brand new car, the sad old horse.
- Prepositional: over the wall, around the world.
- Participial: playing the fool, buying the book.
- Verb: will be given, is coming.
- Infinitive: to think, to draw.
Clauses are groups of related words that contain a subject-verb combination. Independent clauses express a complete thought and can stand by themselves as sentences. Subordinate clauses serve as part of a sentence but do not express a complete thought and cannot stand by themselves. They are subordinate to independent clauses.
- The weather was warm and dry.
- John got free tickets to the play.
- They took the wrong road.
- By the time June arrived.
- Because he works at the theater.
- When they came to the turn.
- By the time June arrived, the weather was warm and dry.
- John got free tickets to the play, because he works at the theater.
- When they came to the turn, they took the wrong road.
- The following words are commonly used subordinate conjunctions and relative pronouns. If a group of words that has a subject and a verb begins with one of these subordinate conjunctions or relative pronouns, the clause is a dependent clause. Be able to recognize these words.
- However, many of the words in the list are also adverbs or prepositions. As such, they will not precede a subject and a verb; hence, the group of words will not be a dependent clause.
- While running for the train. (participial phrase)
- Because of her competence. (prepositional phrase)