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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    simple or compound sentence ?

    Dear teachers,

    Would you please tell me if the following sentence is simple or compound, and why ? Even though it has one subject, it has 2 verbs and 2x2 adverbials. Does that make 2 actions = 2 independent clauses ?

    John FKennedy was born in Brookelyn, Massachussetts in 1917 and died in Dallas, Texas in 1962.

    Thank you for your help.
    Last edited by hela; 16-Nov-2012 at 12:41.

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: simple or compound sentence ?

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you please tell me if the following sentence is simple or compound, and why ? Even though it has one subject, it has 2 verbs and 2x2 adverbials. Does that make 2 actions = 2 independent clauses ?

    John FKennedy was born in Brookelyn, Massachussetts in 1917 and died in Dallas, Texas in 1962.

    Thank you for your help.
    It is compound, the subject of the second coordinate clause being implied (John F. Kennedy).

  3. #3
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Re: simple or compound sentence ?

    Thank you, Philo

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: simple or compound sentence ?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Hela:


    You have asked a very difficult question. I do not have the confidence to suggest an answer. I do wish, however, to present

    some ideas -- and let you decide for yourself.

    *****

    1. One book * says this:

    "Never supply anything that is not absolutely demanded for grammatical completeness."

    That book gives this sentence: "He went up the stairs and knocked on the door."

    The book says that if you supply a "needless" he, you turn that simple sentence into a compound sentence.

    The book feels that "the author of that [simple] sentence never intended" for the sentence to be a compound sentence.

    *****

    2. Another book ** gives these sentences:

    a. "I met Frank at the parkway [freeway/ autobahn, etc.] and I found the car waiting there." = compound sentence.
    b. "I met Frank at the parkway and found the car waiting there." = simple sentence.

    3. This same book gives this simple sentence: "John and Mary enjoyed the performance and applauded it wildly."

    a. The book does not like that sentence. The book thinks that the second part of that sentence is "an independent

    consequence" of the first part, so the book suggests a compound sentence: "John and Mary enjoyed the performance,

    and they applauded it wildly." [NOTE: the comma is MY idea.]

    *****

    4. Finally, a third book *** gives some sentences. Do you think they are identified as simple or compound? I will give you the book's answers later:

    a. We sang and danced all night.
    b. We fished all day, but didn't catch a thing.
    c. The hotel was cheap but clean.

    Answers: a) simple. b) compound (the word "we" is understood). c) simple.

    *****

    I have not expressed any opinions. I have just presented evidence from the experts.


    James


    * R.W.Pence and D.W. Emery, A Grammar of Present-Day English (Second edition), page 152.
    ** John B. Opdycke, Ph.D., Harper's English Grammar (1987 paperback), pages 232 and 247.
    ***L.G. Alexander, Longman English Grammar (1988 impression), pages 10 and 12.

  5. #5
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: simple or compound sentence ?

    I would have said simple sentence with a compound predicate.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: simple or compound sentence ?

    Traditionally, more than one finite verb automatically meant a compound sentence (at the very least). It seems that many modern authorities, however, are prepared to stretch the definition of simple to include the so-called compound predicate.

    Even so, there appears to be less than complete consistency even among the said authorities...

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: simple or compound sentence ?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Traditionally, more than one finite verb automatically meant a compound sentence (at the very least). It seems that many modern authorities, however, are prepared to stretch the definition of simple to include the so-called compound predicate.

    Even so, there appears to be less than complete consistency even among the said authorities...
    Quite. I would go with philo's responses, but unfortunate learners may find that this will be considered incorrect by their teachers.

    This is one of the of the hazards of labelling.

  8. #8
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: simple or compound sentence ?

    This is one time that I did look for resources before answering with my gut response and found many, many examples of descriptions of a simple sentence with a compound predicate.

    A compound sentence, according to the things I read, requires two independent clauses, and while "simple" sentences made allowances for compound predicates, the online sources didn't mention inferred subjects as leading to compound sentences.

    I totally agree that labelling is largely useless, and discussions like this highlight how it can lead to confusion instead of clarity.

    Along with "Modals are messy" my t-shirt line will include "The hazards of labelling." (And "Prepositions suck")
    Last edited by 5jj; 19-Nov-2012 at 14:42.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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