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Complex Sentence

One of the following sentences contains an independent clause and a dependent clause, which makes it a complex sentence. Which is the complex sentence? 1.After the rain ended, the sky became blue. 2.Jenny was the largest elephant in the circus. 3.I came home; I saw an envelope in the mailbox. 4.I hesitated a moment, but her smile gave me courage.Read More...
The complex sentence is #1. Its independent clause is "the sky became blue." The dependent clause is "after the rain ended." #2 is a simple sentence: one subject, one verb. #3 contains two independent clauses. They are connected here by a semi-colon. A semi-colon is one way to connect independent clauses. You could also use "and" in this case. Or, you could make this sentence into a complex sentence making the first clause a dependent clause. Then the sentence would be: "When I came home, I...Read More...

Dependant Clause

In which sentence are the italicized words a dependent clause? 1.She went swimming, and her brother went boating. 2.The diving board broke when she jumped into the pool. 3.She wanted to leave early, or she wanted to stay overnight. 4.She became angry, but she would not leave without her brother.Read More...
Sentence #2 has the dependent clause. A dependent clause is a clause that can't stand alone in a sentence. "When she jumped into the pool" cannot stand alone. "When" is the subordinating conjunction that introduces the dependent clause. This type of clause is called "dependent" because, in order to exist in a sentence, it needs a stronger, independent clause to connect to. "Subordinating conjunction" (when) refers to the word that makes this clause subordinate to the other, but enables it to...Read More...

Passive Voice

Which sentence uses the passive voice. 1.The rain continued until dawn. 2.John searched for a job. 3.The tree was planted by Mary. 4.Lies destroy friendship.Read More...
# 3 contains the passive verb: "was planted." The passive is identified by a form of the verb "be" -- here it is "was" – plus a past participle, which is "planted" in this sentence. The subject of this verb is "the tree," and "was planted" tells what happened to it. Sentences #1, #2, and #4 have subjects with active verbs. Those subjects perform the action in the sentences. In contrast, in # 3, the subject doesn't perform any action, but action is performed on it (in this case, by Mary). Rachel.Read More...

Dangling Modifier

In which sentence are the italicized words a dangling modifer? 1. Arriving ten minutes late , the store was closed for the night. 2. Flying beneath the cloud ,the pilot could see the airport. 3. Resting on the sea bottom , the old trunk held many coins. 4. Not knowing the danger , the soldiers marched into the trap.Read More...
# 1 has a dangling modifier. "Arriving ten minutes late" is a modifying expression, of course, but it is illogical in the sentence. It has to clearly indicate – probably by being placed right next to – the noun it modifies. The dangling modifier has its name because it "dangles" out there, not attached to anything, #1 could be: "Arriving ten minutes late, Darius found the store closed for the night." RachelRead More...

Gerund Phrase

Which sentence contains words in italics that form a gerund phrase? 1.The laughing boy sat down. 2.An interesting novel provides good entertainment. 3. Winning the race demanded speed and endurance. 4.I am going home .Read More...
Only # 3 has a gerund phrase: "Winning the race." As you know, a gerund is a verb in its noun form. A pronoun could theoretically be substituted for the gerund or gerund phrase. Sentence # 3 could be, if the context were already established: THIS / IT demanded speed and endurance. "Laughing" in #1 is a present participle, as is "interesting" in # 2. "Going" in # 4 is part of the main verb. RachelRead More...

the/a+[relative pronoun] what??

Hello, everyone. My question is about Relative Pronoun "what." Here is some example. (1)"I think they got him with the old high-low," Miller said. That is the what you do against the Rams these days . You hit Miller high and Chandler low. ( The Los Angels Times , Nov.14,1998) (2)However, check the monthly payment quoted by the utility and compare it wiht the what you actually paid last year to ensure you are not over-paying. ( The Observer er, Jan. 11,1998) (3) But if a copy of the what the...Read More...
This is a new construction to me; I've never heard or seen it before. But, doing some searching on Google, I have found enough examples of the construction to conclude that it's not a case of carelessness in writing but a construction that is being used, albeit rarely. From the few example sentences I've found on Google, I've concluded that these wh-combinations, known as nominal relative clauses (e.g. "what you do" or "what you paid), are being treated as a unit of meaning equivalent to a...Read More...

sentence construction questions

I have some questions about the following sentences. (1)The sick can claim 80 percent of their wage up to a certain level, at an annual cost to the taxpayer of about 105 billion kroner($15billion). (2)This is roughly as much as the country spends on defense, foreign aid, higher education and research put together. In (1) the phrase "up to a certain level" indicates what? Level of what? Can the latter half of the sentence be rephrased as "at an annual cost of about 105 billion...Read More...
You're right about Sentence 2: (2)This is roughly as much as the country spends on defense, foreign aid, higher education and research put together. The pronoun "this" obviously refers to a certain amount of money that has just been mentioned, and therefore there's no need for another pronoun to represent it. It's not wrong to use "what," but it's not necessary. Sentence (1) (1)The sick can claim 80 percent of their wage up to a certain level, at an annual cost to the taxpayer of about 105...Read More...

run-on sentence

Which of the following is a run-on sentence. 1.The house was owned by the mayor. 2.Mike joined the army, and he became more disciplined during the training. 3.Karen's uncle arrives tomorrow she wants to see him. 4.We like to take a walk after dinnerRead More...
A run-on sentence is really two sentences, inappropriately joined. It consists of two independent clauses which are not separated by punctuation or joined by a comma with a coordinating conjunction. # 3 is a run-on sentence. "Karen's uncle arrives tomorrow" is the first sentences. It could be followed by a semi-colon before the next sentence, "she wants to see him." Or, the clauses could be joined by "and." RachelRead More...

Parallel construction

Which sentence uses correct parallel construction? 1.The painter wore glasses,gloves,and boots. 2.Most people enjoy ice cream and the plant grows. 3.You can either talk to the manager about your problem or writing a letter to the president of the company. 4.Anyone who is going to work here will have to be athletic,and intelligent person,and have a good sense of humor.Read More...
A parallel structure consists of items in a series that have the same grammatical function. Only # 1 is parallel. # 1 has three nouns as object of the verb 'wore." #2 has no parallel structures. #3 has the first verb in its base form (talk), but the second verb is in an –ing form. This is not parallel. #4 has three items at the end that are all different. These items should be all adjectives (like "athletic," or all nouns preceded by adjectives like "intelligent person," but using "person"...Read More...

Fragment?

Which of the following is a fragment? 1.The truth can be unpleasant. 2.The rams locked horns, and the tourists watched them from far away. 3.The dancer floated across the stage. 4.The canoe with the blue stripes.Read More...
So the only fragment in this group is # 4: the canoe with the blue stripes. All the other items have a subject and a full verb, as Marilyn describes. # 4 has no verb at all. RachelRead More...

'-wise'?

What about adding the suffix "-wise" to mean "regarding" or "in the matter of"? I've heard that it is frowned upon, but it seems efficient. For example: Sandy is a nice guy, but brains-wise he is lacking. Hidden Valley is a lovely place, but culture-wise, it has nothing. HowardRead More...
The use of "-wise" is frowned on, and for a good reason. It's a short cut that's used to avoid having to think of a more precise phrase. Here's an example of "-wise" abuse: "That was a big thrill for me," Dubin said. "It was very successful, both critically and audience appreciation -wise ." (Change to "It was very successful with both the critics and the audience.") It can be used to achieve concision in jargon among a group of specialists: "” I was fiddling at one time with the notion of...Read More...

whom

Hello I'd like to ask about the variation of the question style. Would you take a look at the following sentences? 1) Who was this CD produced by? 2) By whom was this CD produced? 3) Whom was this CD produced by? I think 1) and 2) is correct. 2) is probably formal. However what I'd like to know is whether 3) is still grammatically acceptable or not. When you make a question sentence, do you sometimes use "whom"? Or is "whom" obsolete in the question? Thank you.Read More...
Most speakers would use the active form "” Who produced this CD? or "” Who is/was the producer of this CD? Of the two sentences, Sentence 1 is the more natural, and 2 the more formal, as Lina observes. Sentence 3 is less natural for this reason: It has a preposition at the end, which is a mark of informal or standard usage, and "whom" at the beginning, which is a mark of formal style. The combination isn't incorrect, just somewhat incongruous. MarilynRead More...

'I wish' + which form of 'can' to refer to the past

Hello Would you look at the following sentence? #1 I wish I could drive a car then. I found this in the exercise. I think #1 should be #2 because there is "then." #2 I wish I could have driven a car then. I'll be happy to know the answer. Thank you.Read More...
Thanks to Chuncan Feng for the comprehensive answer. Chuncan Feng is correct in saying that "be able to" is used for past ability: "I wish I had been able to drive a car then" I should add, however, that if the verb "drive" refers to a skill or ability, or to the possibility of performing the action, the idea can be expressed with "could have." Note these examples: "” I wish I could have heard your performance, but I had to be out of town that night "” I wish I could have understood the...Read More...

Direct Object

Choose the sentence in which the verb has a direct object. 1.She is insecure. 2.I walked away. 3.George was furious. 4.They won the game.Read More...
Thank you, Chuncan Feng, for another perfectly correct answer. I am posting here the meanings of your references: S=Subject C=Complement V=Verb O=Object So, "SVC" means the order of the sentence is "Subject," then "Verb," then "Complement," etc. The question asks to identify the sentence with the "direct object." That would be the one Chuncan Feng has indicated as "SVO" -- Subject, Verb, (direct) Object. RachelRead More...

Subject or object pronouns

Select the sentence in which all the pronouns are used correctly. 1.Just between you and I, I am not impressed by our new manager. 2.Be sure to divide all the income from the suburban property between he and I. 3.I sat between him and her during the sales conference. 4.I hope shw will keep this between she and I.Read More...
Thank you, Chuncan Feng, for a clear and succinct answer. Using the subject pronoun instead of the correct object pronoun is a frequently heard error. It is often used, even by educated people, because they think it sounds more formal, and therefore correct, but this is not true. RachelRead More...

Capitalization

Which of the following italicized words is correctly capitalized? 1.Mount mckinley is the talles moountain in North America. 2.The most beautiful State is Hawaii. 3.Marsha speaks excellent german . 4.Jim must drice to the North to study the northern lights.Read More...
Only # 4 is capitalized correctly. In # 1, the entire proper name needs initial capital letters: Mount McKinley. In # 2, the word "state" does not need a capital. Only if it is used as part of a name, perhaps an official name, is it capitalized: the State of Hawaii. In # 3, "German" needs a capital letter. Nationalities and languages are capitalized. In # 4, "North" has a capital letter because it refers to a region, and is used as a noun. Used as an adverb – he drove north, or in the...Read More...

Agreement problem

maple
In the course of my work I came across the following: "There's just a handful of companies in the world that have specialized in this process." Question: Is the appropriate verb "is" or "are"? Considerations: 1) The noun "handful" as the subject of the sentence seems to demand "is" as the verb -- e.g. A handful is all you need. 2) The "intended subject" (and hence number) is clearly plural (i.e. obviously more than one company). Of course a re-write would make it clearer: "There are...Read More...
Many thanks for such a thorough analysis Marilyn.Read More...

Compound Predicate

Choose the sentence that has a compound predicate. 1.Swimming and golfing are Jim's favorite sports. 2.Sue and I will listen. 3.Sandy washed and ironed her clothes. 4.We went home to eat and to study.Read More...
If I understand your "compound predicate" correctly: 1. A SVC sentence. Not a compound predicate. 2. A SVC sentence. Not a compound predicate. 3. A S[VO+VO] sentence. A compound predicate, with the two verbs sharing the same object. 4. A SV[A+A] sentence. Not a compound predicate, with a single verb action governing two purposes. Chuncan Feng ChinaRead More...

Subject Complement

Choose the sentence that has a subject complement. 1.The nurse felt my pulse. 2.I felt much better. 3.The day ended with many surprises. 4.We can't leace without seeing her.Read More...
1. A SVO sentence. 2. A SVC sentence. 3. A SVO sentence. "End with" is treated just like a single transitive verb. To determine whether a verb phrase like this (V+Prep) can be treated like a single transitive verb, one needs only to look it up in a dictioary and check whether the verb phrase is listed as a fixed phrase. If one can find it listed in the dictionary, then it is more likely to be treated like a single transitive verb. Sometimes a more complex verb phrase, such as "take care of"...Read More...

Singular Possessive Case

Which one of the following is a correct example of the singular possessive case? 1.women's club. 2.audiences' reaction. 3.who's job. 4.king's rightsRead More...
1. "A women's club" is, in your terms, singular possessive. It is a club whose members are women. "Women's" is a classifying genitive. Another such example is "a girls' school". 2. "An/The audience's reaction": "audience" is a collective noun involving a group of people. 3. "who's job" is not acceptable. Say "whose job" instead. 4. "A king's rights" again may or may not involve a classifying genitive, depending on your way of interpreting the word "king". As a classifying genitive, "a king's...Read More...

Plural Possessive Case?

Which one of the following is a corrext example of the Plural Possessive case? 1.stone's throw 2.men's plans 3.it's place 4.woman's plansRead More...
1. "A stone's throw" is generally treated as an idiom. Without the preceding "a", "stone's throw" is not acceptable. Literally it means the distance that one gets by throwing a stone. Figuratively, it means "a very short distance away". So the expression is usually in the singular. 2. "Men's plans" is already plural possessive. 3. "It's place" is not a possessive. "'s" here is "is". ITS possessive is "its place". The plural is "their place(s)". 4. The right singular is "a woman's plans". The...Read More...

Why 'brideSmaid'?

This question has been sent in by Carlotta . I have a question about the word bridesmaid/bridesmaids. Why is the first part of the word plural? I can't find any part of grammar which can help me.Read More...
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the "s" of "bridesmaid" found its way into the word during the 19th century. The earlier form was "bridemaid." Many centuries ago, the noun "bride" referred to the formal joining together of a couple "” the ceremony itself "” but over the years it came to refer to the female partner of the couple. The "s" was added in the 19th century in the mistaken belief that it should be a genitive ("possessive") form. It was thought to mean "bride's maid."...Read More...

As per

Many people like to use "as per" in their e-mails. However, my professor told me to avoid using "as per" in the letter. Can anybody explain the correct usage, please? Thanks a lot!Read More...
"As per" is frequently used in correspondence, especially business correspondence. However, your professor is correct; "as per" is not well accepted by careful English speakers and writers. Here's what Bryan Garner writes in The Chicago Manual of Style*: "¢ as per. This phrase, though common in the commercial world, has long been considered nonstandard. Instead of as per your request, write as you requested or (less good) per your request. Rachel _______ *The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th...Read More...

'ON / IN / AT the premises'

Dear teachers, What preposition is used in the following sentence? The book festival will be held .... the school premises on October 26, 2004. Thank you, Aneeth PrabhakarRead More...
In addition to "on the premises" and "in the premises," you could say "at the premises." "At" in this case is used to indicate a point in a general vicinity, like the "at" in "She's at the office," or, I'll meet you at the restaurant." Google shows 75,600 examples of "at the premises," as in these examples: "¢ ... must not assault, molest, harass, threaten or otherwise interfere with the protected person(s). 2. The defendant must not reside at the premises at which the ...Read More...

some, any

The following is an exercise I came across in one of the textbooks. The answer key says the correct answer is "some", but "any" seems to work. Any comment? The noise outside prevented me from having (a, some, a few, any) sleep. AppleRead More...
Thanks to Rob for such a succinct, clear answer. Here's a bit more: The correct answer should have been "any." The verb "prevent" belongs to a class of verbs that, despite not being grammatically negated with "not," are still negative in meaning. This class of verbs is variously called "morphologically negative" or "negative in import,"* or "covertly negative."** Other such verbs include I. Verbs that take "from" with or without a direct object: keep prohibit hinder prohibit stop abstain "”...Read More...
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