SVA sentence

SVA = Subject + Verb + Adverbial

Elephants live here.
Elephants [SUBJECT] live [VERB] here. [ADVERBIAL]

In SVA sentences, the adverbial is required; without it, the sentence is grammatically incomplete:

Elephants live ??

Adverbs and adverbials are optional in the other 6 sentence patterns. You can include adverbials in any sentence you like, but the only sentence pattern that requires an adverbial is the SVA.

AND SEE:
Explanation of adverbs/adverbials
John Seely on the 5+2 sentence patterns
Adverbs at CCC
5+2: the 7 canonical sentence patterns in English
Grammar for Teachers by John Seely

Adverbs and adverbials

VOCABULARY

Adverb refers to “dictionary adverbs”: single words such as slowly or very that are identified as “adverbs” in the dictionary.
Adverbial refers to the adverb function inside a sentence or a phrase. An adverbial can be a single word, a phrase, or a clause:

Rex barked loudly. [SINGLE-WORD ADVERB OR SINGLE-WORD ADVERBIAL]
Rex is barking at the cat. [ADVERBIAL PHRASE]
Rex barks when the postman comes. [ADVERBIAL CLAUSE]

WHAT ADVERBIALS DO INSIDE A SENTENCE

Adverbs (single words) and adverbials (single words, phrases, and clauses) modify everything but nouns, it seems. Adverbs and adverbials modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, even entire sentences. John Seely calls adverbs “awkward customers,” and that’s certainly the way I feel about adverbials after reading numerous accounts of adverbs/adverbials and what they do inside a sentence or a phrase.

barks loudly [ADVERB MODIFYING A VERB]
very pretty [ADVERB MODIFYING AN ADJECTIVE]
probably not [ADVERB MODIFYING ANOTHER ADVERB]
Unfortunately, Rex is barking. [ADVERB MODIFYING AN ENTIRE SENTENCE]

Seely writes that “The bulk of [adverbs] provide answers to the questions, ‘When?’ ‘Where?’ and ‘How?’.” Adverbials can also answer the questions, “To what degree?” “How often?” and “Why?”:

Rex was barking this morning. [WHEN]
Rex is barking in the yard. [WHERE]
Rex is barking loudly. [HOW]
Rex is barking very loudly. [TO WHAT DEGREE]
Rex barks constantly. [HOW OFTEN]
Rex barks to tell us the postman has come. [WHY?]

WHERE ADVERBS GO

The great thing about adverbs/adverbials is that they’re relatively moveable:
Rex barked loudly. [AFTER THE VERB]
Rex loudly barked. [BEFORE THE VERB]
Loudly Rex barked. [BEGINNING OF SENTENCE]
Rex was loudly barking. [IN BETWEEN AUXILIARY VERB & LEXICAL VERB]

AND SEE:
Adverbs and other awkward customers – John Seely
Adverbs at CCC
John Seely on the 5+2 sentence patterns
5+2: the 7 canonical sentence patterns in English
Grammar for Teachers by John Seely

Complex sentence

Traditional grammars organize sentences into 4 categories:

  • Simple sentence
  • Compound sentence
  • Complex sentence
  • Compound-complex sentence

A complex sentence has just one independent clause and at least one dependent clause:

Rex barks when the postman comes.
Rex barks [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE] when the postman comes [DEPENDENT CLAUSE].
Rex [SUBJECT] barks [FINITE VERB]
when [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the postman [SUBJECT] comes [VERB]

AND SEE:
Richard Nordquist defines “clause
Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses (OWL)
Clauses (Richard Nordquist at about.com)
The Main Clause (chompchomp)
Dependent Clauses: Adverbial, Adjectival, Nominal (Towson)
Clauses and Sentences (Internet Grammar of English)

Independent clause

Rex barks. [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE]

An independent clause has:

An independent clause does not have:

  • a subordinator or a relative pronoun at the beginning [“I did my homework” is a independent clause. “When I did my homework” is not an independent clause. “I got that at the mall” is a complete sentence. “that I got at the mall” is not an independent clause.]

Rex || barks.
Rex [SUBJECT] barks. [FINITE VERB]

An independent clause is a complete sentence in and of itself. It can “stand alone.”

Independent clauses:
Rex barks.
Rex chases the cat.
Rex seems hungry.

Independent clauses inside compound sentences:
Rex barks, and he growls.
Rex || barks, and he || growls.
Rex [SUBJECT] barks [FINITE VERB], and he [SUBJECT] growls [FINITE VERB].

Rex barks, and Tigger meows.
Rex || barks, and Tigger || meows.
Rex [SUBJECT] barks [FINITE VERB], and Tigger [SUBJECT] meows [FINITE VERB].

Each one of the clauses in the compound sentences above has a subject and a finite verb, so each on can “stand alone” as a complete sentence:
Rex barks.
He growls.
Tigger meows.

Independent clauses inside complex sentences:
When the postman comes, Rex barks.
Rex is chasing the cat that belongs to my next door neighbor.
Rex seems hungry although I just fed him.

When the postman comes,” “that belongs to my next door neighbor,” and “although I just fed him” are all dependent clauses.  They must be attached to an independent clause in order to be grammatically correct.

They cannot “stand alone.”

AND SEE:
Richard Nordquist defines “clause
Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses (OWL)
Clauses (Richard Nordquist at about.com)
The Main Clause (chompchomp)
Dependent Clauses: Adverbial, Adjectival, Nominal (Towson)
Clauses and Sentences (Internet Grammar of English)
Sierra College Handout – Combining clauses – Subordinators & relative pronouns

Terrific student revisions of Martha Kolln’s “getting chilled” exercise

BACKGROUND: Martha Kolln explains cohesion in writing

In class a few weeks ago (10/25/2012), students revised the ‘getting chilled’ passage from Martha Kolln’s Rhetorical GrammarI was very impressed by the results.

Here’s the passage:

Getting chilled or getting your feet wet won’t cause a cold. Weather is not the culprit that causes the common cold. Viruses are to blame.

A major problem with this passage is that it has 3 different grammatical SUBJECTS in just 3 independent clauses:

  1. Getting chilled or getting your feet wet || won’t cause a cold.
  2. Weather || is not the culprit that causes the common cold.
  3. Viruses || are to blame.

STUDENT REVISIONS:

Getting chilled or getting your feet wet won’t cause a cold. The common cold is not caused by weather, but by viruses.
-J.G.

Getting chilled or getting your feet wet won’t cause a cold. The common cold is not caused by weather; viruses are to blame.
-D.P.

Getting chilled or getting your feet wet won’t cause a cold. A common cold cannot be blamed on the weather. However, it can be blamed on viruses.
-G.C.

The common cold is not caused by getting your feet wet or getting chilled. Cold weather is not the culprit that causes the common cold, but viruses are to blame.
-J.B.

Kolln, Martha J. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. 5th ed. New York: Longman 2006. (Print.) (72.)