3 ways to combine the 7 sentence patterns

BACKGROUND:

Traditional grammars list 4 types of sentences:

Simple sentence (1 independent clause)
Compound sentence (2 or more independent clauses)
Complex sentence (1 independent clause + 1 or more dependent clauses)
Compound-complex sentence (2 or more independent clauses + 1 or more dependent clauses)

All 7 sentence “patterns” — SV, SVO, SVC, SVA, SVOO, SVOC, SVOA — can be used in all 4 combinations above.

You can write a SIMPLE SV sentence, a SIMPLE SVO sentence, a SIMPLE SVC sentence, etc.

And: you can combine all 7 sentence patterns into COMPOUND, COMPLEX, and COMPOUND-COMPLEX sentences.

For example, you can include 2 SVs in one compound sentence:
Rex barks [SV], and Tigger meows [SV].

Or you can combine 2 SVOs:
Rex chases the cat,[SVO] and the cat chases the mouse [SVO].

You can combine 1 SVO with 1 SVA:
Rex chases the cat, [SVO] and the cat races up the tree. [SVA]

Simple sentence = 1 independent clause

A simple sentence has one independent clause.

REVIEW: An independent clause:

– Has a subject
– Has a finite verb
– Does not begin with a dependent marker word (also called a subordinating conjunction).

EXAMPLES:
The cow jumps over the moon.
The cow [SUBJECT] jumps [FINITE VERB – PRESENT TENSE] over the moon. [COMPLETE SENTENCE]
The cow jumped over the moon.
The cow [SUBJECT] jumped [FINITE VERB – PAST TENSE] over the moon. [COMPLETE SENTENCE]
The cow jumping over the moon.
The cow [SUBJECT] jumped [NONFINITE VERB – PAST TENSE] over the moon. [INCOMPLETE SENTENCE or SENTENCE FRAGMENT]

Dependent clause

In traditional grammar, a dependent clause (also called a subordinate clause) has a subject and a verb but cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. A dependent clause “depends” upon an independent clause.

Often — not always — a dependent clause begins with a dependent marker word:

while [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the cow jumped over the moon.
when [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the cow jumped over the moon.
although [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the cow jumped over the moon.

Compound sentence = at least 2 independent clauses

The cow jumped over the moon, and the dish ran away with the spoon.
The cow jumped over the moon; the dish ran away with the spoon.
The cow jumped over the moon; in addition, the dish ran away with the spoon.
The cow jumped over the moon: the dish ran away with the spoon.

NOTE: “in addition” is not a “dependent marker word.” (Good explanation here.)

And see this page by Vincennes University.)

Complex sentence = 1 independent clause + at least 1 dependent clause

The cow jumped over the moon [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE] while the little dog laughed. [DEPENDENT CLAUSE]

Compound complex sentence = at least 2 independent clauses + at least 1 dependent clause

The cow jumped over the moon [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE] while the little dog laughed, [DEPENDENT CLAUSE] and the dish ran away with the spoon [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE].

AND SEE:
SVO v. SVC
5 + 2: the 7 ‘canonical’ English sentences

3 ways to combine the 7 sentence patterns
10 basic sentence patterns in the English language
SM’s sophisticated SVOO sentence
DT’s astute observation (reflexive pronouns)
A short overview of English syntax by Rodney Huddleston tablehtml mergecells
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)

NOTE: This post follows the traditional categorization of sentences used by College Writing Skills and other composition textbooks. When I have time, I’ll update to the approach taken by The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.

J.D.’s sentences

A few weeks ago, in class, everyone wrote sentences that contained:

I love J.D.’s sentence:

The man who ate 50 Baconators won the contest.

J.D.’s sentence can be “resolved” into these two:

The man won the contest.
He ate 50 Baconators.

Here’s another sentence by J.D.:

A person who is thin eats differently.

A person eats differently.
The person is thin.

*Relative clauses are sometimes called adjective clauses.

Choppy sentences – University of Minnesota

Choppy sentences and what to do about them — terrific handout from University of Minnesota.

The short answer: combine short choppy sentences into longer smooth sentences via sentence combining.

And see: Avoiding primer style.

For those of you who don’t know what the phrase “primer style” refers to, here is a page from the reading primers used in the 1950s. These very simple books were created because children were supposed to memorize words instead of sounding them out.