Clause, phrase and sentence

 

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.


 

Comments

Hello,
I learned that a compound sentence consists of 2 independent clauses joined by a coordinator, which means if we remove the coordinator we have two meaningful sentences that can stand on their own. Fore example " Many scientists believe in the extraterrestrial life, but others disagree." when I remove the coordinator" but" I feel the 2nd sentence " others disagree" cannot stand on its own; the meaning is not complete. In other words, if I said to a person " others disagree" the meaning would not be clear! He will ask me " whom are you talking about? and what are they disagreeing with?" However if I said to him "Many scientists believe in the extraterrestrial life." the meaning would be clear.

Thanks in advance

Hello zagrus,

A sentence is a certain kind of structure which has certain grammatical requirements, but which does not have to make sense to the listener (or reader).  A large part of the meaning comes from the context and many sentences are not intelligible to the listener without this; however, being meaningful and being intelligible is not the same thing.  For example, all pronouns refer to something else - if I say 'he' then I must be referring to something in a previous sentence, or something in the real world such as a person standing in front of me.  The pronoun 'he' is meaningful to the speaker, even if it not intelligible to the listener.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

What is the difference between
1) What happened? and 2) What's happened?
please explain with examples.

Thanks and Regards
Krishna

Hello krishna0891,

'What happened?' is a past simple form, used to talk about events which are completed.

'What's [has] happened?' is a present perfect form, used to talk about past events which have some effect or relevance now.  You might use the first question when asking about somebody's holiday, for example, or about a party which took place the previous night.  The second question would be used when the event in question has some sort of relevance now, such as if you were to see someone crying or looking very happy - then, the question is really asking 'Why do you look like this?'

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Peter......

Then when do we use "what is happened?(passive)"

how is it different from "what happened?(active)"

Hello krishna0891,

'Happen' is an intransitive verb, which means it does not have an object.  Intransitive verbs have no passive form and so the answer to your question is that we never use 'what is happened?' and use only active forms with this verb.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Peter for your great explanation.

Now I've understood it clearly.

Hello,
'
I would like to know what's the tag question of 'let's go'

Thank you.

Hi bimsara,

"Let's go, shall we?"

Please try to ask your questions on pages that discuss the question. For example, if you search for "tag questions" using the search box on the right, you'll see several pages where they are discussed. We would really prefer you ask your question on one such page so that other users can benefit from it as well.

Thanks.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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