Composite sentence: compound and complex sentences

The composite sentence

The modern approach to the composites is that it is a syntactic unit having more than one predicative line (subject – predicative groups). The term “composite” was introduced by Poutsma, thus we got the threechotomic division of sentences into simple, compound and complex. (together – the composite).

One of the usual approaches to a compound sentence is that it is a sentence, whose parts are independent to such an extent that Ch. Fries considers a compound sentence just a matter of intonation and pronunciation, and the difference between a simple sentence and a part of a compound sentence is just punctuational.

It should be noted that the parts of the composite sentences are clauses. So, the definition is the following: “The compound sentence is a sentence which consists of two or more independent clauses connecting by means of coordination”, e.g She was tired and we decided to stay at home.

The clauses of a compound sentence may be connected syndetically (by means of coordinating conjunctions or conjunctive adverbs) and asyndetically (without any conjunction or adverbs).

There are four types of syndetic coordination in a compound sentence:

  1.  copulative (соединительная)

and, not only… but, both, neither… nor, nor

I neither want to stay in town nor do I want to go to the mountains.

  1.  disjunctive (разделительная)

or, either… or, or else, otherwise

Either you do it or I’ll punish you.

  1.  adversative (противительная)

but, yet, still, however, nevertheless, whereas, while

She was tired yet she helped me.

  1.  causative – consequative (причинно-следственная)

for (т.к., потому что), therefore, so, accordingly, then, hence.

I don’t see anything for it is dark.

Complex sentence

A complex sentence consists of a principal clause and one or more subordinate clauses.

Clauses in a complex sentence may be linked in two ways:

  1.  Syndetically, i.e. by means of subordinating conjunctions or connectives.

There is a difference between a conjunction and a connective. A conjunction only serves as a formal element connecting separate clauses, whereas a connective serves as a connecting link and has at the same time a syntactic function in the subordinate clause it introduces.

 More and more, she became convinced that some misfortune had    overtaken Paul. (conjunction).

             All that he had sought for and achieved seemed suddenly to have no                                                                                 meaning. (connective).

  1.  Asyndetically, i.e. without a conjunction or connective.

 I wish you had come earlier.

A subordinate clause may follow, precede, or interrupt the principal clause.

 His steps quickened as he set out for the hotel.

 As the family had no visitors that day, its four members dined alone    together.

 It was dull and dreary enough, when the long summer evening closed  in, on that Saturday night.

A complex sentence may contain two or more homogeneous clauses coordinated with each other.

 They were all obstinately of opinion that the poor girl had stolen the  moonstone, and that she had destroyed herself in terror of being found  out.

A subordinate clause may be subordinated to the principal clause or to another subordinate clause. Accordingly we distinguish subordinate clauses of the first, second, third, etc. degree of subordination.

 I think I have noticed that they have an inconsistent way of speaking about her, as she had made some great self-interested success in marrying Mr. Growan.

According to their grammatical function subordinate clauses are divided into subject, predicative, attributive, object and adverbial clauses.

 Subject clauses perform the function of subject to the predicate of the principal clause. Attention should be paid to the peculiar structure of the principal clause, which is this case has no subject, the subordinate clause serving as such.

 What I want to do is to save us both.

If a subject clause follows the principal clause the so-called introductory it is used in the principal clause.

 It was always possible that they might encounter some one.

 Predicative clauses perform the function of a predicate. The peculiarity of complex sentences with a predicative clause is that in the principal clause we find only part of the predicate, i.e. a link verb, which together with the predicative clause forms a compound nominal predicate.

 Our attitude simply is that facts are facts.

 Object clauses perform the function of an object to the predicate-verb of the principal clause.

 I don’t know what you are talking about.

 He wondered why he should look back.

Attributive clauses serve as an attribute to a noun (pronoun) in the principal clause. The noun or a pronoun is called the antecedent of the clause. According to their meaning and the way they are connected with the principal clause attributive clauses are divided into relative and appositive.

Attributive relative clauses qualify the antecedent, whereas attributive appositive clauses disclose its meaning.

 The facts those men were so eager to know had been visible.     (attributive relative clause)

 The fact that the rector’s letter did not require an immediate answer    would give him time to consider (attributive appositive clause)

Attributive relative clauses are joined to the principal clause syndetically and asyndetically, attributive appositive clauses only syndetically – by means of conjunctions.

Attributive relative clauses can be restrictive and non-restrictive or descriptive (defining and non-defining clause).

An attributive relative restrictive clause restricts the meaning of the antecedent. It cannot be removed without destroying the meaning of the sentence. It is not separated by a comma from the principal clause because of its close connection with it. Attributive relative restrictive clauses are introduced by:

  •  Relative pronouns (who, whose, which, that, as)
  •  Relative adverbs (where, when)
  •  Asyndetically

 All that could be done had been done.

 I think my father is the best man I have ever known.

 They spoke no more all the way back to the lodging where her uncle     lived.

An attributive relative non-restrictive clause doesn’t restrict the meaning of the antecedent; it gives some additional information about it. It can be left out without destroying the meaning of the sentence. The principal clause and non-restrictive clause are often separated by a comma.

Attributive relative non-restrictive clauses are in most cases introduced syndetically by means of:

  •  Relative pronouns (who, which)
  •  Relative adverbs (where, when)

 In this room, which was never used, a light was burning.

 Kate turned to the general, who was near her, his face expressionless,   yet alert.

Attributive appositive clauses disclose the meaning of the antecedent, which is expressed by an abstract noun. An attributive appositive clause is not separated from the principal clause by a comma.

Attributive appositive clauses are chiefly introduces by the conjunction that, occasionally by the conjunction whether or by the adverbs how and why. They are not joined to the principal clause asyndetically.

 He stopped in the hope that she would speak.

 There was no reason why she should not read the book.

 An adverbial clause performs the function of an adverbial modifier. It can modify a verb, an adjective or an adverb in the principal clause.

Accordingly to their meaning we distinguish the following kinds of adverbial clauses.

  •  Time (when, as, until, till, before, after, since, as soon as, as long as, whenever). When I woke in the morning I went to the window and looked out.
  •  Place (where, wherever). I felt the young man to go where he would with my box and money.
  •  Cause (because, as, since). I love you because you brought me up to something better.
  •  Result (so that, so (such)… that). The bookseller had never heard of the author so that I got the books cheap.
  •  Purpose (that, in order that, so that). The parents of these children went angry that their children might eat well.
  •  Condition (if, in case, unless, once). Work’s o use unless you believe in it.
  •  Concession (through (although), even if, even though, whatever, however, no matter what (where, etc). Though he could not have said why, it makes him feel uneasy.
  •  Exception (except that). It was all as I had left it except that now it was spring.
  •  Manner and comparison (than, as,as…as, not so (not as)…as, as if, as though, like). It was five past ten, later than he had imagined.
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Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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