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  • Hi again. I'm Adam. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. Today I have a very important lesson, I think,

  • for all of you that will help you very much with your reading, but especially your writing

  • skills. Okay?

  • Today we're going to look at the sentence. What is a sentence? Now, I know that all of

  • you are saying: "Well, we know what a sentence is. We've learned this a thousand times before."

  • Right? I know what you've learned and I know what you haven't learned, many of you; some

  • of you have, of course. The sentence has a very basic structure, there's a very basic

  • component that must be involved or included in a sentence, and a lot of grammar teachers,

  • a lot of English teachers don't teach this. Okay? All of you, I'm sure have by now heard

  • of "SVO", but have you heard of "SVsC"? Have you heard of "SVC"? Maybe yes, maybe no. But

  • I'm sure a lot of you are going: "What? I've never heard of these things before." Well,

  • we're going to talk about this in one second.

  • Before we talk about a sentence, we have to talk about a clause. Now, what is a clause?

  • I'm sure you've heard this word before as well, but just in case, a clause is any subject,

  • verb combination. It's a group of words that must include a subject and a verb. Now, also

  • very important to remember: it must be a tense verb, meaning that it must take a time; past,

  • present, future. Okay? No base verb, no infinitive verb. So that is a clause. Now, there are

  • two types of clauses. Okay? We have independent clauses and we have dependent clauses. The...

  • These are sometimes called subordinate clauses. Now, every sentence in English to be a grammatically

  • correct sentence must have an independent clause. It doesn't need a dependent clause,

  • but it could have one. The independent clause could include a dependent clause as the subject

  • or object. We'll talk about that after.

  • So an independent clause has a subject and a verb, and it can stand by itself. It can

  • contain a complete idea by itself. Okay? So, technically, the shortest sentence you can

  • have in English will be a... Will be an independent clause with a subject and verb. What is the

  • absolute shortest sentence that you can think of? Think of a sentence, the shortest you

  • can possibly make it. Okay? Here's an example: "Go!" Is this a complete English sentence?

  • Yes. Why? Because it contains an independent clause. Where? We have the implied subject:

  • "you" and the tense verb: "go", the imperative tense "go". So this your basic English sentence.

  • Now, we have three other types, three basic types and we can of course play with these

  • after. Subject, verb, object. Some independent clauses must have an object, we'll talk about

  • that in a second. Excuse me. Subject, verb, subject complement. Some sentences must have

  • a subject complement. Subject, verb, complement. Okay? We're going to talk about each of these

  • in a moment. I have the "A" here because quite often, this complement is actually an adverb

  • phrase or an adverbial. We'll talk about that in a second.

  • So your basic sentence can be any one of these three. Now, the reason we're looking at this...

  • All these structures is because once you understand what must be contained in a sentence, then

  • you can read any English sentence out there that is grammatically correct and be able

  • to understand the main idea of that sentence. Okay? So let's start with "SVO".

  • Okay, let's look at our "SVO" type of independent clause: subject, verb, object. Now, first,

  • what is an object? Well, we have two types of objects to talk about. We have the direct

  • object, we have the indirect object. Now, the thing to understand is that the object

  • always answers a question about the verb, it completes the meaning of the verb by asking

  • the questions: "What?" or: "Who?" Now, keep in mind that technically, it's: "Whom?" But

  • if you say: "Who?" I'll let it go this time. Okay? Formal academic writing, "Whom?", "Whom?",

  • "Whom?" IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, all that - "Whom?" not: "Who?" In the object position. But the

  • direct object answers: "What?" or: "Who?" about the verb. Okay? We'll get back to that.

  • An indirect object answers the question: "To what?" or: "For what?" or: "Whom?", "To what?",

  • "For what?", "To whom?", "For whom?" Usually about the object, about the direct object.

  • You will never see an indirect object without a direct object in the sentence as well. Now,

  • again, before I get back to the objects, let me explain this word: "transitive verb". I

  • don't care if you remember this word or not; it's not important, that's just a grammar

  • word. Understand the meaning of this situation. A transitive verb must take an object, a direct

  • object. Okay?

  • Look at this sentence here: "I want." Is this a complete sentence? I have a subject and

  • verb. Right? Should be okay. "Want" is a transitive verb. There's no such thing as wanting without

  • wanting something. Okay? So this is not a complete sentence. This sentence or this clause

  • must take an object. "I want candy." Now it's complete because it answers the question:

  • "What?" about want. Not all verbs are transitive. Some are intransitive, means they don't take

  • an object. Some are called ambitransitive, means in some situations, they take an object;

  • in some situations, they don't take an object. But that's for a different lesson altogether.

  • So we have "SVO" must have an object to the verb.

  • Now, here: "She gave Mary a letter." We have our subject "she", we have our verb, "gave",

  • past tense. "Mary", okay? She gave who? No. She gave what? A letter. We have our direct

  • object to Mary, indirect object. She gave a letter to Mary. She gave Mary a letter.

  • Okay? So we have: she gave what? Again, this is a transitive verb, it must take an object,

  • a direct object. She gave a letter to Mary, our indirect object. This is a complete independent

  • clause, a complete idea full of meaning, ready to be added on to.

  • Now, what do you put before or what you put after, that's all complements basically. It's

  • not important. You can have a lot more phrases, you can have other clauses, you can have subordinate

  • clauses added to this. This is your main idea of the sentence, that's your independent clause.

  • Let's look at the other type: the subject, verb, subject complement.

  • Okay, so now we're going to look at the other type of sentence, the other type of independent

  • clause you can have. Subject, verb, subject complement. Before we look at it, I want you

  • to notice very carefully this "e" here. Okay? We don't have "compliment". "Compliment",

  • "complement". This one means to complete something. This one means to say nice things about someone.

  • "Oh, I look your shirt, it's very nice. It suits you." That's a compliment. "Complement",

  • to complete. So a subject complement completes the meaning of something. Now, we had the

  • object before. The object answered the question about the verb. Right? It completed the meaning

  • of the verb. The subject complement completes the meaning or says something about the subject,

  • not the verb. Okay? It also answers the question: "What?" about the subject. One way to think

  • about this is think of the verb, the "be" verb-and it's always going to be a "be" verb-think

  • of it as an equal sign. Subject = the subject complement.

  • So, for example... And many students still ask me this, I'll say it again. "I am Canadian."

  • So "I" equals "Canadian", Canadian completes the meaning of "I", same thing. Right? This

  • is the completion of me.

  • This sentence looks a little bit more complicated, but it's the exact same thing. "The weatherman

  • must be wrong about today's forecast." I still have the "be" verb, this modal, "must" only

  • tells me something about the degree of the "be" verb; it doesn't tell me anything about

  • the subject or the complement. So the weatherman, wrong. The weatherman is wrong "about today's

  • forecast." This is just an extra piece of information. It is a complement to "wrong".

  • Wrong about what? That's... We're going to talk about different types of complements

  • like this one. "Wrong" is a complement to "weatherman". "About today's forecast" is

  • a complement to "wrong". A sentence can have many complements. Okay? An independent clause

  • can only have one object, one subject, one verb. However, you can have many clauses in

  • a sentence, you can only have one independent clause unless, of course, you have two independent

  • clause joined by a conjunction; "and", "but", "or", etcetera. We'll talk about that in a

  • little bit as well. So weatherman must be wrong about today's forecast. So this is your

  • subject, verb... Subject, verb, subject complement. Now we're going to look at the last one: subject,

  • verb, complement.

  • Okay, let's look at our last one. We have "SVA". I put "A" because quite often when

  • you have to have it, it's an adverbial, but technically, anything that's not an object

  • or a subject complement is just a complement. It is necessary to... For the completion of

  • the sentence. Now, an adverbial. Why do we call it an "adverbial"? Because it answers

  • the questions: "Where?", "When?", "How?", "Why?" We saw that the object answers: "What?"

  • or: "Who?" Adverbial answers the other questions. About what? About the subject? No. It's about

  • the verb again. Okay?

  • So, for example, if I say: "I went." Is this a complete sentence? No, because "go" means

  • you have to go somewhere. Technically, in certain contexts, it could be an answer to

  • another question. But as... By itself, it's not a complete sentence. I need to add something

  • to it. "I went to the store." I went where? To the store. "To the store" is a complement,

  • but it's acting as an adverb because it answers one of these questions. Remember: a complement,

  • and I just want to explain it here, completes the meaning of something. It could... In this case, it

  • completes the meaning of the verb, but complements can also complete the meanings of something

  • else. We had "SVsC" completes the meaning of the subject. We can also have complements

  • that complete the meaning of an object, or a preposition, or many other things. I'll

  • give you a few examples soon.

  • "Bill lives in Hawaii." Bill lives where? In Hawaii.

  • Now, I want you to also look at this sentence: "Carl reads." Now, could this sent-... Could

  • this clause-I should say, subject, verb-could this be a complete sentence? Sure. What does

  • Carl do..? What does Carl do in his spare time? He reads. Now, what he reads, maybe

  • not important; I want the action more than the thing he reads. However, I see Carl, he's

  • reading all the time, and I think: "What? Is he in school?" No. "Carl reads for pleasure."

  • I need this piece of information to complete the idea, to complete the meaning of this

  • sentence. "Carl reads books." and: "Carl reads for pleasure." are two completely different

  • sentences; they have completely different meanings. If I want to specify a particular

  • meaning, I want to tell you why he reads, then I have to add this complement, I have

  • to add this adverbial to complete the meaning of this verb. "He reads newspapers.", "He

  • reads comic books.", "He reads obituaries." Do you know what an "obituary" is? In the

  • newspaper, sometimes they put little notices of people who died. Some people like to read

  • these things, I don't know why, but some people do. But Carl, he reads for pleasure; he enjoys

  • it, it's fun for him. But this completes the meaning of that.

  • So there you have the three types. Now, the thing to remember is that you can mix all

  • of these. You can have "SVAO". Well, no, you can't have "SVA". You can "SVOA", you can

  • have "SVOC", you can have "SVAAC", etcetera. You can mix them. I'm going to give you a

  • couple of examples here to see what I'm talking about.

  • Okay, let's look at some examples here. I want... Keep in mind this is very basic stuff.

  • You're going to see very, very complicated sentences in your readings, especially once

  • you get into academic readings. But: "I went to the store to buy bread for breakfast this

  • morning." Now, this might seem like a bit of a complicated sentence, but it's actually

  • a simple sentence and it only has "SV", lots of "C's". Okay? "I went", subject, verb. Where?

  • "To the store". This is an adverbial. Where? "To buy bread". Why? Why did I go to the store?

  • "For breakfast". "Bread", for what? At the store, I bought bread. I bought bread for

  • breakfast. When? "This morning". This goes back to "went". Okay? All of these are complements

  • to the... to each other and to the verb: "went". You can have many complements. You don't want

  • to have too, too many because then your sentence becomes long, and a little bit boring, and

  • a little bit in danger of being run-on. Okay? But you can add as many as you want. Now,

  • the complements could be anything; could be infinitive phrase, or participle phrase, or

  • a clause, or a gerund, or noun phrase. Anything. Okay? As long as it's grammatically correct.

  • Here's another sentence. Now, this one also looks a little complicated, it's not either.

  • "What Sharon forgot to mention was that her husband was the CEO of Microsoft and makes

  • a lot of money, which is why she can afford all of her holidays." Sorry, I forgot the

  • comma there. Okay. Now you're thinking: "Oh, wow. I have no idea." First thing, remember

  • what I said: you have to find your independent clause first. Now, keep in mind a subject

  • can be a subordinate clause as well. What is the subject of this entire sentence? Is

  • it Sharon? No. Is it CEO, is it her husband, is it Microsoft? No. What we have here is

  • a noun clause subject. This is your subject, a subject which is an independent clau-...

  • A dependent clause-sorry-this is called a noun clause. It has its own subject and verb.

  • Remember a dependent clause also has a subject and verb. Forgot what? "To mention", it has

  • an object to "forgot". Now, here's your verb: "was". Okay? "Her husband", "that her husband

  • was the CEO of Microsoft and makes a lot of money". Sharon forg-... This is the subject,

  • this is the subject complement because we have a "be" verb. This is also a noun clause

  • with its own subject and verb. "That her husband was the CEO" and that he "makes a lot of money."

  • Okay? "Which is why she can afford all of her holidays." We were wondering: "Sharon

  • goes away on holiday all the time, but she doesn't work. How does she do that? She's

  • never told us that she inherited money. Oh, what she forgot to mention last time she explained

  • was that", blah, blah, blah. Okay? So this is a complement.

  • Now, of course, this doesn't look too easy. Remember: a subject could be anything, an

  • object could be anything. Not anything, but there's all kinds of subjects and objects.

  • We'll discuss that another time. Find your subject, your main subject, find your main

  • verb, find your object, complement, etcetera.

  • Now, remember I said: every sentence must have at least one independent clause. It could

  • have two, it could have three, as long as you have a coordinating conjunction, "and",

  • "but", "or". "John loves Kate", John loves who? Kate. "and Kate loves John." Subject,

  • verb, object. Subject, verb, object. Two independent clauses, one sentence, conjunction. Okay?

  • This might seem a little bit difficult, but there's a quiz on www.engvid.com, go to it,

  • check it out. And remember: this is all very good for your writing skills and your reading

  • skills. But if you need a little bit more help, check out my website: www.writetotop.com,

  • a lot more information there to help you out. And come again soon.

Hi again. I'm Adam. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. Today I have a very important lesson, I think,

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A2 BEG US subject clause sentence complement object independent clause

Learn English Grammar: The Sentence

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    Lynn posted on 2014/07/01
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