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independent clauses

 
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:23 pm    Post subject: independent clauses Reply with quote

Hello
In an independent clause you need to have a subject and a verb. The following sentences are independent clauses. In the following sentences, what are the subjects and verbs?
1 I'm hungry.
2. It's raining.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm hungry: I=Subject, am="first person" form of the "copula" verb 'be', hungry=adjective functioning as "subject complement". (Complement, sense 1: One of the five elements of clause structure, along with Subject, Verb, Object, and Adverbial. Typically complements of this type 'complete' the verb be or another linking verb [and indeed the subject too: see next sentence - FH], and are either adjective phrases or noun phrases, e.g. My brother-in-law is very clever. He's a brain surgeon. This type of complement is called a subject complement, because the complement refers back to the subject. An object complement on the other hand refers back to the object, e.g. I consider tranquilizers [to be - FH] dangerous. They make some people [become/[turn] into - FH] addicts. [And in 'I believe [that] tranquilizers are dangerous', we might possibly have come full circle again, as 'tranquilizers are dangerous' is a new, subordinate clause with its own subject; as a whole though it is complement, here a clause functioning as "object", to the 'believe' in 'I believe'. The omissible 'that' meanwhile is a "subordinating conjunction" or "subordinator" - FH]. (From Chalker & Weiner's Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar)).

Now you might be wondering HIC why 'raining' isn't also called a(n adjective-like, or should that be a noun-like, or...? LOL) complement too, but the fact is that 'is raining' forms a whole, a constituent, a logical unit (let's call it a verb phrase, though some might prefer 'Predicator'), and here's why: if we add something like 'cats and dogs' to the sentence, you can see that '(is) raining' here is clearly a verb (not that 'to rain' has to be transitive, have an "object" like 'cats and dogs'), in the same way that '(am) typing' in 'I am typing [a post for Dave's] now' is also a verb/verb phrase. And just to be 100% explicit, in It is raining: It="dummy" word, fulfilling a syntactic requirement for a Subject, is=a form of 'be' used as an auxiliary (that is, to form compound "tenses", which here is 'Present Progressive' (be + V-ing)) rather than as the copula, and raining=a "present" participle, or simply the "-ing form" (latter term has a useful fuzziness that allows it to be used comprehensively to describe more than just present participles).

That's not to say that there are never examples where an -ing form (and possible following object) isn't a complement of a copula (e.g. His hobby is fishing/stamp-collecting/collecting stamps), but as I said on the following Job Discussion thread, 'How often do hobbies collect stamps?' (that is, your intuition will tell you if the -ing is a true verb/part of a verb phrase, or a mere complement to a copula, if the inanimate subject hasn't clued you in already as to what can be predicated about it!). On the other hand, there would be nothing so ultimately wrong IMHO with viewing the hobby as a compulsion that is actually driving the action of the person, but you won't find any serious grammarians proposing silliness like that LOL.
http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?p=857384#857384

Note (from reading sense 2 of the entry in Chalker & Weiner) that the object of a verb can also be considered its complement, in the very general meaning of that word, but wherever possible I prefer to call a spade simply a spade (i.e. an object an object). Either way, when you have verb phrases rather than copulas, whatever complement may be there is pushed further to the right in the sentence structure, and whenever you have copulas, the complement appears straight after the copula (i.e. "much further to the left").

Sorry if this seems brain-bending stuff, HIC, but I want to help you get this stuff down cold, and I'm trying to anticipate problems, and account for and factor in your past posts/questions.

And if it's explanations of clauses that you're after, try the following for some real nosebleeds! (Only joking, it'll probably be less heavy-going than the above!).
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?p=40930#40930
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hereinchina



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject: thank you very much Reply with quote

Hello,
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question in such a detailed way.
Best wishes Laughing
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best wishes to you too HIC, and good luck! (You might need it - hope all that wasn't too OTT LOL).
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