The basic unit of English grammar is the clause:

[An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]

[when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.]

[William Brown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother]

[and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.]

Clauses are made up of phrases:

[An unlucky student] + [almost lost] + [a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]

[when] + [he] + [left] + [it] + [in the waiting room of a London station.]

[William Brown] + [inherited] + [the 1698 Stradivarius violin] + [from his mother]

[and] [had just had it valued] + [by a London dealer] + [at £180,000.]

We can join two or more clauses together to make sentences.

An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000 when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.

William Brown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.




Hello JamlMakav,

Thanks for explaining that - I wasn't sure where you wanted to use 'having had', but now I see that you mean at the beginning of the second sentence. It would be grammatically incorrect to use 'having had' after 'since', as 'since' (when used as to express reason) is followed by a complete clause, i.e. with subject and verb.

But a participle clause can be used to express reason, so you could simply say 'Having no understanding of it, I did not have ....' and it would say what it seems you want to say. It's also possible to say 'Having had no understanding ...', but 'Having' is better here since you're not speaking of a concrete action but rather a mental state.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


''Statements state that order is not relevant when performing addition''

I've read that we can reduce a subordinate clause if the subject is the same in a main clause. In this sentence, subjects are different. Is it still possible to do that in this case?

''I believe that to be a part of your university will make me a more valuable student that is aiming high.''

What would be the difference between the two sentences, if I changed present continuous into simple?

Thank you.

Hello MCWSL,

The rule about having the same subject applies to participle clauses, not to all subordinate clauses. There are various types of clause which can be reduced and not all are participle clauses (or participle phrases, as they are also called).

You can see our section on participle clauses here.


With regard to your second question, I would say that generally the continuous form suggests a temporary state, while the simple form suggests something more permanent. However, in this particular context there is little difference, I would say, and you can use either form.


''When starting programming classes, I was astonished by the Mathematics application in a computer and even though many see a computer as a simple everyday device, being creative and skillful mathematically, I understood that if used properly, it is a tool to...''

I repeat ''a'' very often. Is there any way to omit a determiner before a noun and not to make a mistake?

''Living in the UK has given me an opportunity to develop my skills''

Could I omit indirect object if my it's clear that it gave ME opportunity not to somebody else.

Are there rules of using ellipsis or it's just a matter of style and wanted purpose?

If this question is too wide, then I just want to know if it's used in formal English frequently.

Thank you for help.

Hello JamlMakav,

In your sentence about programming, I'd probably use the plural in one spot ('many see computers as a simple everyday device') instead of the indefinite article, but otherwise it sounds good. I'm afraid your question (if there's any way to omit a determiner and not make a mistake) is a very difficult one to answer as there are so many possible situations to consider.

As for your second question, it would sound unnatural to omit 'me' in a phrase like that one. Perhaps you could rephrase it, but since the sentence mentions skills that you developed, it'd be difficult without changing it significantly.

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with any tutorial on ellipsis, though the Cambridge Dictionary's Grammar entry on it and this Wikipedia article might be something to look at, and in any case there may be something available on the internet that I'm not familiar with – I'd encourage you to do a bit of searching.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Chemistry is learned through the
three levels of representation of macroscopic,
sub-microscopic, and symbolic levels .

what tense it is sir?

Do I need to use a comma in the following sentence:
" She had fish and chips and cheese and ham omelette yesterday."

Thanks in advance

Hi zagrus,

It's not a very elegant sentence because of the proliferation of 'and' throughout. However, there is no grammatical need for a comma and no real place to put one. I think the sentence could be improved in other ways, however. You could use 'as well as', 'followed by', 'in addition to' or similar phrases. Of course, if the sentence is spoken then the speaker can use their voice (a pause) to help the listener follow.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


''I'm just gonna tell him I could only find four rocks''
''I'm just gonna tell'' refers to future. But what is ''could only...'' referring to? Is it not full imaginary conditional sentence or it is that future's past?

''Wouldn't it be awkward to see what he wrote''
It is an imaginary situation in future. In this situation, I have the same question.

''I am going to the mall means that I need you to be home''

''I am goin...'' functions as a subject. Is something missing in there? For example, a word ''sentence'' or something.

Thank you.