Student or Learner
In grammar class on Monday, the class was presented with the sentence,
"Driving in the countryside while it is dark can be dangerous."
The class said that there are three clauses here: 'Driving in the countryside', 'while it is dark', and 'can be dangerous'.
I disagreed with this, and asked the teacher, 'Isn't 'driving' a noun, and the subject of 'can be dangerous'. But she insisted that it was a verb.
I did mention 'gerund' but this just confused matters as always - she said 'yes, it's a gerund. So it's a verb.'
Could somone clarify? To me, there are two clauses - 'Driving can be dangerous' and 'while it is dark'. 'Driving' is a noun.
[Driving [in the countryside] [while it is dark]] can be dangerous.
1. X can be dangerous = matrix clause
2. [Pro] driving in the countryside = gerund clause
3. while it is dark = subordinate to the gerund clause
What is interesting is this:
Driving can be dangerous. Which driving? Driving in the countryside.
Driving can be dangerous. Where? In the countryside.
Which driving is dangerous? Driving in the countrside, that driving.
Driving in the countryside is dangerous. Which driving (in the countryside) is dangerous? Driving in the countryside while it is dark is dangerous, that is what. When is it dangerous to drive a car in the countryside? While it is dark, that is when. Adjectival or adverbial? We know that the subject is a noun, a gerund. Which word class has the potential to modify the subject? Adjective. On the other hand, 'When is it dangerous to drive?' In the dark.
Thank you all for your help.
I really am new to grammar, so saying this confuses me. I thought the one thing a clause needed in order to be a clause was a verb?There are finite clauses as well as non-finite clauses. In addition, there are verbless clauses.
Perhaps sentences like 'okay', 'yes', 'no' are verbless clauses? However, I was taught that these are 'social' words with no true linguistic nor propositional meaning. Most of them aren't even stored along with the rest of our words.
This is what wikipedia says:
"Traditionally, a clause was said to have both a finite verb and its subject, whereas a phrase either contained a finite verb but not its subject (in which case it is a verb phrase) or did not contain a finite verb. Hence, in the sentence "I didn't know that the dog ran through the yard," "that the dog ran through the yard" is a clause, as is the sentence as a whole, while "the yard," "through the yard," "ran through the yard," and "the dog" are all phrases. However, modern linguists do not draw the same distinction, as they accept the idea of a non-finite clause, a clause that is organized around a non-finite verb."
Clause - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
We tend to use traditional grammar to describe English here, unless otherwise specified - given that it's not primarily a linguistic site, but a language learning site.