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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #1

    Clauses

    How many clauses are in the sentence below? Also, what is the grammar of the verbs?


    If we want to maintain a quality of life for ourself now, we must all act now to conserve the environment.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by bevvy View Post
    How many clauses are in the sentence below? Also, what is the grammar of the verbs?


    If we want to maintain a quality of life for ourself now, we must all act now to conserve the environment.
    There are two clauses.

    red: want = main verb
    to maintain = infinitive (direct object)

    blue: must act = main verb (modal auxiliary + verb)
    to conserve = infinitive (adverbial phrase)

  2. #3

    Re: Clauses

    Mike,

    In we must all act now to conserve the environment, wouldn't you consider to conserve the environment as a subclause (non-finite, to-infinitive)?

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    #4

    Re: Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner View Post
    Mike,

    In we must all act now to conserve the environment, wouldn't you consider to conserve the environment as a subclause (non-finite, to-infinitive)?
    No, but I am aware of that classification system.

    I prefer what I consider to be a much simpler system.

    clause: must have subject and predicate (finite verb)
    phrase: any multi-word string

    In that system, an infinitive with its complements and modifiers is a phrase.
    I know that the system classifies verbal phrases as non-fiinite clauses, but I find that this terminology confuses almost everybody except linguists.


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    #5

    Re: Clauses

    What do you think about the structure of the sentence to have two infinitives? Why does the speaker use this format? What does it say about the purpose of the message?


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    #6

    Re: Clauses

    By the way thanks for the help.

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    #7

    Re: Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by bevvy View Post
    What do you think about the structure of the sentence to have two infinitives? Why does the speaker use this format? What does it say about the purpose of the message?
    We use "verbals" (infinitives, gerunds, and participles) for a variety of uses. The common link is that we are using an action (derived from the verb) a different part of speech.

    In your first clause, what the speaker wants is an action.
    So, he says "we want to maintain" to indicate that he wants that action. In this case, the infinitive acts as a noun -- the direct object.

    In the second sentence, the infinitive phrase acts as an adverb. It uses an action to say how we should act.

    Verbals are very important in English. Because they contain action, they bring movement and life to other parts of speech.

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    #8

    Re: Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by bevvy View Post
    By the way thanks for the help.
    You're welcome.


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    #9

    Re: Clauses

    Can you analyse, using functional grammar, this sentence:Timber workers are letting their own personal needs get in the way of what is really important.

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    #10

    Re: Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by bevvy View Post
    Can you analyse, using functional grammar, this sentence:Timber workers are letting their own personal needs get in the way of what is really important.
    Timber: noun used as adjective, modifying "workers"
    workers: noun, subject
    are letting: main verb, present progressive/continuous form
    their own personal needs: noun phrase, direct object [possessive adjective- adjective-adjective-noun]
    get: bare infinitive [the verb let is complicated, I would call this an object
    complement. Others may have a different explanation.]
    in the way: adverbial prepositional phrase, modifying "get".
    of what is really important: adjectival phrase modifying "way". [The
    prepositional object is a noun clause.]
    what: pronoun, subject of clause
    is: verb of clause
    really: adverb, modifying "important"
    important: predicate adjective, complement of verb "is".

    The entire phrase "get in the way of what is really important" is an infinitive phrase.

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