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.


 

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Comments

Hello,

''A joyous Michael drives through town. telling everyone his door is always open. A pensive Michael goes home, but finds...''

Do we use a determiner before name or it's not correct?

I have a question on variable nouns that can be countable and uncountable.

I know that they are countable when refer to an instance or individual members. For example,

''A cake'' refers to a particular cake but ''cakes'' refers to general.

I just want to know if I used the determiner ''the,'' would it be any difference between ''a cake'' and ''the cake?''

Thank you.

Hello MCWSL,

We use an 'a'/'an' before names in this way with the meaning 'on this occasion'. It is a way of contrasting the person's state (pensive, worried, joyous etc) with their normal state.

I'm not sure I understand your question about articles here. The difference between 'a cake' and 'the cake' is contextual (non-specific vs specific and identified), unless you are referring to the use of articles to describe general/representative meaning.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Can a plural noun take a singular verb? What's the purpose of this? For example I found these,

''This year's house sales will be a half as much as last year's. If this year's is 4000, how much WAS last year's sales?'' or ''We WAS lucky''

''I saw phones as A SIMPLE DEVICE'' Why not ''phones as simple devices?''

''It's known that the missing number squared, plus 6 times the missing number, equals -8''

Could the first comma be substituting for ''and?'' But I still don't understand why the last comma is used and it doesn't seem like a list either.

''If the average weight of a cow is 1500 pounds and produces 10 gallons of milk ...''

Is pronoun ''it'' omitted before produces? Is this grammatically correct?

Thank you.

Hello JakiGeh,

In informal speaking and in some dialects, it's sometimes possible to use a singular verb with a plural subject. I wouldn't recommend you speak or write this way, since as a non-native speaker people will probably think your grammar is bad rather than thinking that you're using a dialect.

The mathematics sentence wouldn't make sense to me if you replaced the first comma with 'and'. In this case, I'd say the commas indicate a series of operations.

Yes, the sentence is not grammatically correct without 'it'.

We're happy to help you with questions, but please remember that our main purpose is to help our users get the most out of our site. Occasionally this means we answer questions that are not closely related to a page on our website, but we're not able to provide the service of answering any and all questions that our users have. For that, you should seek a teacher. If you need help finding one, you might want to consider contacting the British Council in Argentina.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

''At the beginning of the secondary school, I did not pay much attention to education. Since I had no understanding of it, I did not have a special interest in curricula. My approach changed as soon as I found...''

I don't want to repeat ''I'', so I have the choices:
If I used ''Having had'', would it mean ''didn't have understanding until my approach changed?'' Maybe it's better to use ''Having'' because everything is clear anyway?

''I'd had breakfast before I went to school''

Is using of past perfect required with time expressions when it's clear what goes first? For example, ''I'll have taken my exam before you come home'' future perfect isn't necessary here since it's clear what goes first. Instead I believe we should use past simple in first example and future simple in second. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Thank you.

Hello JamlMakav,

With regard to your second question, it's often possible to use simpler verb forms, as you suggest. For example, you could say 'I had breakfast before I went to school' and 'I'll take my exam before you come home'. If you used the other forms, you would be putting emphasis on the sequence, but as you suggest, this is not always necessary. But the option is available.

As for your first question, could you please write out the alternative version that you're asking about - I'm afraid what you're suggesting is not completely clear to me.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

I am sorry for this.

''At the beginning of the secondary school, I did not pay much attention to education. Since I had no understanding of it, I did not have a special interest in curricula. My approach changed as soon as I found...''
I don't want to repeat ''I'', so I have the choices:
If I used ''Having had'', would it mean ''didn't have understanding until my approach changed?'' Maybe it's better to use ''Having'' because everything is clear anyway?

After since ''Since (having had)/having no understanding of...''

Thank you again.

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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

''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.

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