Saturday, October 14, 2017

Expanding the Basic Pattern - Coordination

The basic S V/C pattern can also be expanded by coordination. Whereas subordination ranks one element as more important than the other, coordination places elements on an equal footing. If the relationship of subordination is that of child to parent, the relationship of coordination is that of spouse to spouse. In a sentence it works like this:
Esther types/letters.
The subject can be expanded by adding a coordinate element:
Lois and Esther type/letters.
And coordination can also be used to expand the complement.
Lois and Esther type/letters and memos.
Or the verb.
Lois and Esther type letters and memos but write-out short notes and signatures.
Now each element has been compounded with a resulting structure that might be represented as follows:

Lois and Esthertype/letters and memos
write-out/short notes and signatures.

This sentence has a compound subject, a compound verb, and two compound complements. In every case the compound elements are coordinate to each other and therefore, because they are of equal importance, may be said to balance.
And just as we can subordinate either individual words or whole groups of words, the same is true of coordination. In the previous example we compounded the various parts of a single independent clause, but we could also coordinate two separate clauses.

Esthertypes/letters,but Loistypes/memos.

Now our sentence has two independent clauses, each of which could stand alone as a complete sentence.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Modification and Subordination

Modification and Subordination
The easiest and most common way of developing the S V/C pattern is by adding a modifier. To modify means to change or alter. A modifier, therefore, is a word or word group that changes the meaning of another word or word group that is more basic to the sentence.
Luis eats/apples.
By adding a modifier to the complement, we can alter the meaning of "apples."
Luis eats/green apples.
We can also modify the subject.
Little Luis eats/green apples.
And even the verb.
Little Luis never eats/green apples.
Notice how the basic S V/C pattern remains even after several modifiers have been added. This is because modifiers cluster around base elements like iron filings around a magnet.
The principle that describes this relationship between modifiers and more basic sentence elements is subordination. Subordination means taking a position of lesser importance or rank. In the Army, for example, a private is subordinate to a captain and a captain to a general. Likewise, when we say a modifier is subordinate to the base element, we mean it has less importance and is dependent upon that more basic element for its claim to a place in the sentence. We can see this by looking at our last example.
Little Luis never eats green apples.
When we drop all the modifiers, we still have a sentence that feels complete.
Luis eats apples.
But when we drop the base words that the modifiers depend on, we are left with something entirely different.
Little never green.
The result is nonsense. Our minds want to process the data as a sentence, but it won't fit. We have modifiers, but we don't know what is being modified. The base elements are missing.
We've seen how these two principles, modification and subordination, join individual words in clusters. It's also worth noting how they join word groups together. Just as individual words cluster around more important ones, so the clusters they form attach themselves to more important elements. Notice how this happens in the following example.
The river was/cold.
Adding a little modification, we get this:

Friday, October 6, 2017

Basic Sentence Concepts

Our language organizes thoughts into sentences. As a core, these sentences have a two-part structure. For simplicity and easy reference, we can represent the two parts as follows:
The subject, a noun or noun-substitute, tells who or what is doing something. The predicate tells what the subject is doing.
This bird    sings.
Marcus    plays soccer.
My old Chevy    still runs.
This pen   leaks.
These books   are heavy.
This two part structure is so basic that a thought doesn't feel complete when one part is missing. Both are needed for a complete sentence. Of course most sentences are longer and more sophisticated than those above, but even the most complex sentences are based on this two part principle. Learning to recognize it, to listen for it, and to use it are the first steps to mastering English sentence structure.
The S V/C Pattern
Another step, slightly less important but still useful, is to see that the predicate is often composed of two parts.
The verb is the word or cluster of words actually naming the action performed by the subject. The complement comes after the verb. It may do a number of different things, but most often it's the receiver of the action performed by the subject and named by the verb:
John                           hit/the ball.
Here John is an agent, the one doing something. "Hit" names the action he's performing, and "the ball" receives the effect of the action. Not all cases are so clear, however. Sometimes the complement modifies the subject, as in "John is tall." Here, "tall" doesn't receive the effect of the action. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any action at all, unless we consider merely existing to be an action. But such cases need not cause problems as long as we recognize the basic pattern and sense that it has been completed. For us, as writers, a detailed understanding of linguistics is secondary. Learning to use the language effectively comes first.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Adjectives and Prefix

Choose the correct prefix to make negative forms of the adjectives

1. It was  im possible to sleep because of the noise.

2. Mary is un certain whether to go to Sweden or not.

3. It's totally  ir rational but I'm afraid of spiders.

4. I like my teacher but she is a bit  im patient with slow learners.

5. Bob has been  dis honest in his dealings with us.

6. It's  il legal to drive through a red light.

7. Administration should be an a  political tool of the government.

8. This new house is not  dis similar to our old one except that it's a bit bigger.

9. Stop Stewart ! It is  im polite to point at people.

10. Why did you write this sentence ? It's completely il logical.

Adjectives and substantives

1) It's difficult for a young teacher to have a whole class of fifteen-year-olds, because at that age, young people are quite restless ...

2) A counsel for the defence must protect and defend the unjustly accused as well as the suspects he knows are guilty ... 

3) As sincere environmentalists, the Greens fight for the protection of our childrens' futures ....

4) We must respect the ideas of the Greens if we want to keep our planet from being destroyed by mankind. 

5) I don't like the theatre of the Absurd at all! In fact, I'm just back from 'The Caretaker' by Pinter and I hated it! ...

6) Recently, in 2010, the unthinkable happened in Haïti : An earthquake destroyed a vast majority of the island.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Adjectives and Comparison

John is 178 centimeters. David is 180. Smith is 195.
 John is tall. David is taller than John. Smith is the tallest of all.
The red car next to the tree is $50,000. The blue car in front of the house is $80,000. The black car over there is $150,000.

The red car is expensive. The blue car is more expensive than the red car. The black car is the most expensive of all.

1. My elder brother is three years older (old) than I am.

2. When I was a kid I always wanted to be  taller (tall) than he was.

3. Now I am the tallest (tall) in my family.

4. But my younger brother is  more intelligent (intelligent) than I am.

5. My elder brother played volleyball much better (good) than I did.

6. My younger brother drives more carefully (careful) than I do.

7. I am the  fastest (fast) driver in my family but the least careful.

8. Unfortunately, I have the  highest (high) number of speeding tickets.

9. I have the most expensive (expensive) but the least economical car.

10. All in all, I think I am the  smartest (smart) of all. What do you think? I am kidding.