Sentence Forms

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What is Syntactic Fluency?
• The ability to create a variety of
sentence structures – appropriately
complex and/or simple and varied in
length to add interest to writing.
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What is Syntactic Permutation?
• Sentence structures that are
extraordinarily complex and involved.
• Often difficult for a reader to follow.
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Sentence Forms
What is a Simple Sentence?
• Contains one independent clause - can stand by
itself - and no dependent clauses – which cannot
stand alone.
Examples of Simple Sentences:
• The baby cried.
-Independent clause: contains one subject, baby, and
one predicate, cried.
• The girl ran into her bedroom.
- Independent clause: contains one subject, girl, and one
predicate, ran into her bedroom.
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What is a Complex Sentence?
• Contains an independent clause and at
least one dependent clause.
• The dependent clause is introduced by
either a subordinate conjunction such
as although, while or because or a
relative pronoun such as who or which.
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Examples of Complex Sentences
• When I saw what you had done, I was sad.
– Independent clause: I was sad
– Dependent clause: When I saw what you had done
• That you love me makes me happy.
– Independent clause: (subject) makes me happy.
– Dependent clause: That you love me (acting as the
subject)
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What is a Compound Sentence?
• Contains at least two independent
clauses, but does not need a
dependent clause.
• The clauses are joined by a
coordinating conjunction (and, but, so),
a correlative conjunction (both…and,
either…or), or a semicolon that
functions as a conjunction.
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Examples of Compound
Sentences
• The singer bowed, and the applause began.
- Independent clauses: the singer bowed and
the applause began
- Coordinating conjunction: and
• Either the singer bowed or the applause
began.
- Correlative conjunction: or
• The singer bowed; the applause began.
- Joined by a semicolon.
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What is a Complex-Compound
Sentence?
• Contains at least two independent
clauses and one or more dependent
clauses.
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Examples of CompoundComplex Sentences
• The dog lived in the backyard, but the cat, who
thought she was superior, lived inside the house.
- Independent clauses: The dog lived in the backyard
and the cat lived inside the house
- Dependent clause: who thought she was superior
• Though the movie had been tested on the market,
The Last Shadow did not fare well in the United
States, but it did develop a huge following in Europe,
which usually does not go for this movie genre.
- Independent clauses: The Last Shadow did not fare
well in the United States and it did develop a huge
following in Europe
- Dependent clauses: though the movie had been tested
on the market and which usually does not go for this
movie genre
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Parallelism in Sentence
Structure
What is Parallelism?
• The technique of arranging words,
phrases, and clauses side by side and
making them similar in form.
• Ideas must be equal in some way, such
as in emphasis, in use, or in fact.
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What is a Simple Parallel?
• A series of coordinated elements.
• Similar in form and grammatical function.
Example Simple Parallel Sentence
• She looked tired, frustrated and disgusted.
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What is a Complex Parallel?
• Deliberately emphasizes parallel
construction to achieve cadence and
rhythm through repetition.
• The main clause (subject and
predicate) ALWAYS comes first.
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Examples of Complex Parallel
Sentences
• A new generation of Americans born in
this century, tempered by war,
disciplined by a hard and bitter peace,
proud of their ancient heritage ...
(Kennedy)
• Throughout our nation, the major cities
are in trouble: scarred by slums and
ghettos, threatened by racial strife,
crippled by inadequate finances...
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What is a Periodic Sentence?
• Is not grammatically complete until its end.
• Is accomplished by the use of parallel
phrases at the opening or by the use of
dependent clauses preceding the
independent clause.
• Is effective when it is used to arouse interest
and curiosity to hold an idea in suspense
before its final revelation.
• Also called a period.
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Example Periodic Sentence
“Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garment shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent and soft, and slow,
Descends the snow.”
~ From Longfellow’s “Snowflakes” ~
- Parallel adverbial phrases (“Out of the bosom”, “Out of the
cloud-folds,” “Over the woodlands,” “Over the harvest-fields”),
- Each followed by parallel modification (“of the air,” “of her
garments shaken,” “brown and bare,” “forsaken,”).
- The thought is not grammatically complete until the subject/verb
group “Descends the snow” finalizes the statement.
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What is a Balanced Sentence?
• Characterized by parallel structure.
• Constructed as to emphasize an antithesis – two
contrasting images.
Example Balanced Sentences
• And so my fellow Americans – ask not what your
country can do for you, ask what you can do for
your country. (Kennedy)
• It is not that today’s artists cannot paint, it is that
today’s critics cannot see. (Rothko)
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What is a Loose Sentence?
• Builds through parallel constructions
after a main clause.
• The main clause (with the subject and
verb) comes first.
• Effective for description.
• Also called a cumulative sentence .
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What is Asyndeton?
• Commas used with no conjunction to
separate a series of words.
• Emphasizes the parallel structure
equally and speeds up the flow of the
sentence.
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Example Loose Sentences
featuring Asyndeton
• The brilliant assembly filed past us, the
marshals with their batons and ceremonial
red hats, the professors draped in their
doctoral hoods, the graduates in somber
black.
• Nothing could deflect that wall of water,
sweeping away trees and boulders, engulfing
streets and villages, churning and roaring
like a creature in pain.
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