WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE, EH? PART 12: THE ‘GRAND DADDY’ OF SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION…

Forget the simple sentence. Never mind the compound sentence. Move over complex sentence; big daddy is here!

Like we said earlier, when constructing sentences, it’s a bit like working with Lego blocks. You start from the simplest and work towards the ultimate. In this case, we are talking about the creation of a compound-complex sentence. 

Hey! Don’t run away in fear; it can be done and we are about to show you how you can take your writing to a much higher level of sophistication. Beware the ides of March, however, or, for that matter, the shoes of Lady Gaga. Compound-complex sentence constructions are not for the faint-hearted. Building them requires that you have a firm grip of the necessary basics so it might be worthwhile to do a quickie review…

SIMPLE SENTENCE

A complete thought consisting of two elements: a subject (noun or pronoun) and a predicate (verb or verb phrase). A simple sentence also goes by the following aliases: principal clause, independent clause and if that’s not enough to confound you, it can also be called a main clause. Examples are as follows:

We love constructing sentences.

Some people forget the rules.

Practice is important.

COMPOUND SENTENCE

Two simples sentences (a.k.a principal, independent or main clauses) bound or connected by a coordinate conjunction.

We love constructing sentences but we do it carefully.

Some people forget the rules and others ignore them completely.

Practice is important so you should do it often.

COMPLEX SENTENCE

One principal (independent or main clause) + one or more *subordinate (dependent) clauses. *A subordinate clause is a cluster or group of words which contains its own subject and predicate but cannot stand alone as a complete thought…the word that begins this cluster is called a subordinate conjunction. Complex sentences (principal + subordinate clause(s)) resemble the following:

After we study, we usually practise.

Whenever we practise, time seems to fly because we are so focused.

If you require assistance, we are here to help you.

SO WHAT CONSTITUTES A THE SO-CALLED ‘GRAND DADDY’ OF SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION? Well grammar fans, if you know what a compound sentence is and you’re familiar with a complex sentence, then all you have to do is blend them together (observing the correct and accepted rules of punctuation) to create the COMPOUND-COMPLEX SENTENCE.

Two main clauses + one or more dependent clauses = a compound-complex sentence. 

Please note (for the umpteenth time) that certain terms in grammar have interchangeable names by which to identify them. A main clause can also be called a principal, independent or main clause. Wait, we’re not finished! It’s also called a simple sentence.

Dependent clauses, on the other hand, can go by the title subordinate clause.  Whew! That’s a lot to remember, so from this time on, we shall use the names principal and subordinate clause for our purposes. Hopefully, that will simplify matters. Now, let’s bring on a few examples of compound-complex sentences in which our principal clauses shall be in bold and our subordinate clause(s) in italics.

Many of our readers try hard but they often fall short because they lack the necessary focus.

Although we enjoy writing, we lack the time to practice and that is a real problem.

Bloggingfrog and Lily do croak a lot yet they feel it’s important since others might get something from it if they try to comprehend the croakers. (‘since others might get something from it’ and ‘if they try to comprehend the croakers’ are two different subordinate clauses).

And that, fellow grammarians, concludes today’s lesson. We urge you, as always, to review, review and review some more. We’ve come a long way but the journey must and will continue.

Remember what Irish Anglican Archbishop and poet Richard Trench was said: “Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.” On second thought…don’t bother!

Have a lovely day,

Bloggingfrog and Lily