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    #1

    Classify the sentence

    I am teaching a student about simple, compound, and complex sentences and what distinguishes each sentence. The student wrote the following sentence. The first time I watched the movie, I was amazed. Although I am certain this sentence is complete and grammatically correct, I cannot determine why. It is not simple, because of the introductory clause with a verb. It is not compound because there is only one independent clause. It appears complex with a dependent clause and a simple sentence. However, this clause (The first time I watched the movie) does not begin with a subordinating conjunction. Please clarify the kind of sentence and why.

  1. tkacka15's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Classify the sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by writingtutor View Post
    I am teaching a student about simple, compound, and complex sentences and what distinguishes each sentence. The student wrote the following sentence. The first time I watched the movie, I was amazed. Although I am certain this sentence is complete and grammatically correct, I cannot determine why. It is not simple, because of the introductory clause with a verb. It is not compound because there is only one independent clause. It appears complex with a dependent clause and a simple sentence. However, this clause (The first time I watched the movie) does not begin with a subordinating conjunction. Please clarify the kind of sentence and why.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm a non-native.

    I'd try it like that: I was amazed [when] the first time I watched the movie. Hence the clause the first time I watched the movie following the conjunction "when" is an adverbial modifying the adjective "amazed'.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

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    #3

    Re: Classify the sentence

    I see it as a simple sentence where:

    "I" is the subject;

    "was" is the predicator (a linking verb);

    "amazed [when (implied)] the first time I watched the movie" is the complement in which "the first time I watched the movie" is part of that complement. The clause "the first time I watched the movie" does a job of the modifier in the adjectival subject complement of that sentence.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

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    #4

    Re: Classify the sentence

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

    Hello, Tkacka:

    Thank you very much for teaching me how to parse that sentence.

    "I was amazed (when) I watched the movie the first time."

    It seems to be, then:

    1. "I was amazed" = main clause.
    2. "when I watched the movie the first time." = adverbial clause.

    a. "the first time" = a noun phrase that modifies the verb "watched." (In other words, "... I watched the movie for the first time.")

    One of my favorite books tells me a complex sentence is "one that contains one and only one main clause and at least one subordinate clause."

    In my opinion, you have brilliantly shown that the OP's sentence is a complex sentence.

    The quotation is credited to Pence & Emery, A Grammar of Present-Day English (copyright 1947 and 1963).

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    #5

    Re: Classify the sentence

    Yes, you are right, it seems to be a complex sentence as the adverbial not necessary has to be the part of the adjectival phrase here, but it can stand alone as a syntax element and modify the main clause.
    Last edited by tkacka15; 21-Sep-2015 at 11:11.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

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    #6

    Re: Classify the sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    This message has been deleted by TheParser.

    Reason Tkacka's excellent post has convinced me that my analysis was wrong.
    It's a pity to delete a post even if you think your analysis was wrong, in my opinion. It can be helpful for members to see what other possibilities there might be.

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    #7

    Re: Classify the sentence

    (Not a grammarian)

    I personally think "the first time" is used like a subordinating conjunction and therefore I'm inclined to call the original sentence a complex sentence.
    There are other interesting constructions in English:

    I want to see him the moment he arrives.
    I recognized her the instant (that) I saw her.
    Every time I hear that song I feel happy.
    Next time you're here let's have lunch together.
    I went home directly I had finished work.
    Immediately she'd gone, I remembered her name.

    (I've taken all these example sentences from Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.)

    Those expressions/words in bold seem to be used like subordinating conjunctions (to me, at least).
    (Both 'directly' and 'immediately' are classified as conjunctions in the dictionary above.)


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    #8

    Re: Classify the sentence

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

    I found an interesting discussion on the Web.

    The participants seem to agree with Tkacka and Tzfujimino.

    As Americans like to say, it's a win-win for those two members. (The only loser is I.)

    1. "I was amazed when I saw the movie the first time." ("Everyone" agrees that's a conjunction / indefinite relative adverb)
    2. "I was amazed the first time (that) I saw the movie." (Some books that I checked on Web do absolutely consider "the first time" as a conjunction of time.)

    Thank you so much, Tzfujimino, for bringing this matter to our attention.

    Source: To read the article, go to google and type in: Does "the first time" function like a conjunction? Word Reference

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    #9

    Re: Classify the sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    (Not a grammarian)

    I personally think "the first time" is used like a subordinating conjunction and therefore I'm inclined to call the original sentence a complex sentence.
    There are other interesting constructions in English:

    I want to see him the moment he arrives.
    I recognized her the instant (that) I saw her.
    Every time I hear that song I feel happy.
    Next time you're here let's have lunch together.
    I went home directly I had finished work.
    Immediately she'd gone, I remembered her name.

    (I've taken all these example sentences from Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.)

    Those expressions/words in bold seem to be used like subordinating conjunctions (to me, at least).
    (Both 'directly' and 'immediately' are classified as conjunctions in the dictionary above.)

    If "the moment" or "the minute" can introduce the time clause, then "the first time" can do the same as it marks the point in time the way both "the minute" and "the moment" do.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

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    #10

    Re: Classify the sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by tkacka15 View Post
    If "the moment" or "the minute" can introduce the time clause, then "the first time" can do the same as it marks the point in time the way both "the minute" and "the moment" do.
    Well, I think most people agree that "the first time I watched the movie" and "the moment he arrives" in those sentences function adverbially.
    The issue here, I suppose, is whether we can call them subordinate/dependent clauses or not.

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