1. The Sentence
2. Classification of Sentences
3. The Composite Sentence
4. Compound Sentence
5. Complex Sentence
6. Types of Subordinate Clauses
The theme of my course paper sounds as following: «Types of Sentences».
Before beginning of investigation in our theme, I would like to say some
words dealt with the theme of my course paper.
Sentences with only one predication are called simple sentences. Those
with more than one predication have usually no general name. We shall
call them composite sentences.
In a composite sentence each predication together with the words
attached is called a clause.
Composite sentences with coordinated clauses are compound sentences.
She’s a very faithful creature and I trust her. (Cronin).
Composite sentences containing subordinated clauses are complex
If I let this chance slip, I’m a fool. (Cronin).
In a complex sentence we distinguish the principal clause (I’m a fool)
and the subordinate clause (If I let this chance slip) or clauses.
Standing on such ground, I would like to point out tasks and aims of my
1. The first task of my work is to give definition to term «sentence».
2. The second task is to give the classification of sentences in
3. The last task of my work is to characterize types of composite
In our opinion the practical significance of our work is hard to be
overvalued. This work reflects modern trends in linguistics and we hope
it would serve as a good manual for those who wants to master modern
English language. Also this work can be used by teachers of English
language for teaching English grammar.
The present work might find a good way of implying in the following
1. In High Schools and scientific circles of linguistic kind it can be
successfully used by teachers and philologists as modern material for
writing research works dealing with English verbs.
2. It can be used by teachers of schools, lyceums and colleges by
teachers of English as a practical manual for teaching English grammar.
3. It can be useful for everyone who wants to enlarge his/her knowledge
After having proved the actuality of our work, I would like to describe
the composition of it:
My work consists of four parts: introduction, the main part, conclusion
and bibliography. Within the introduction part we gave the brief
description of our course paper. The main part of the work includes
several items. There we discussed such problems as the types of
sentences in English, their classification, the problem of composite
sentences and etc. In the conclusion to our work we tried to draw some
results from the scientific investigations made within the present
course paper. In bibliography part we mentioned some sources which were
used while compiling the present work. It includes linguistic books and
articles dealing with the theme, a number of used dictionaries and
encyclopedias and also some internet sources.
1. The Sentence
The notion of sentence has not so far received a satisfactory
definition, which would enable us by applying it in every particular
case to find out whether a certain linguistic unit was a sentence or
Thus, for example, the question remains undecided whether such shop
notices as Book Shop and such book titles as English are sentences or
not. In favour of the view that they are sentences the following
consideration can be brought forward. The notice Book Shop and the title
English Grammar mean ‘This is a book shop’, ‘This is an English
Grammar’; the phrase is interpreted as the predicative of a sentence
whose subject and link verb have been omitted, that is, it is
apprehended as a unit of communication. According to the other possible
view, such notices as Book Shop and such titles as English Grammar are
not units of communication at all, but units of nomination, merely
appended to the object they denote. Since there is as yet no definition
of a sentence which would enable us to decide this question, it depends
on everyone’s subjective view which alternative he prefers. We will
prefer the view that such notices and book titles are not sentences but
rather nomination units.
We also mention here a special case. Some novels have titles formulated
as sentences, e. g. The Stars Look Down, by A. Cronin, or They Came to a
City, by J.B. Priestley. These are certainly sentences, but they are
used as nomination units, for instance, Have you read The Stars Look
Down? Do you like They Came to a City?
With the rise of modern ideas of paradigmatic syntax yet another problem
concerning definition of sentence has to be considered.
In paradigmatic syntax, such units as He has arrived, He has not
arrived, Has he arrived, He will arrive, He will not arrive, Will he
arrive, etc., are treated as different forms of the same sentence, just
as arrives, has arrived, will arrive etc., are different forms of the
same verb. We may call this view of the sentence the paradigmatic view.
Now from the point of view of communication, He has arrived and He has
not arrived are different sentences since they convey different
information (indeed, the meaning of the one flatly contradicts that of
2. Classification of Sentences
The problem of classification of sentences is a highly complicated one,
and we will first consider the question of the principles of
classification, and of the notions on which it can be based.
Let us begin by comparing a few sentences differing from each other in
some respect. Take, for example, the following two sentences:
(1) But why did you leave England? (GALSWORTHY)
(2) There are to-day more people writing extremely well, in all
departments of life, than ever before; what we have to do is to sharpen
our judgement and pick these out from the still larger number who write
extremely badly. (CRUMP)
Everyone will see that the two sentences are basically different. This
is true, but very general and not grammatically exact. In order to
arrive at a strictly grammatical statement of the difference (or
differences) between them we must apply more exact methods of
observation and analysis.
Let us, then, proceed to a careful observation of the features which
constitute the difference between the two sentences.
1. The first sentence expresses a question, that is the speaker expects
an answer which will supply the information he wants. The second
sentence expresses a statement, that is, the author (or speaker) states
his opinion on a certain subject. He does not ask about anything, or
expect anybody to supply him any information. This difference is
expressed in writing by the first sentence having a question mark at the
end, while the second sentence has a full stop.
2. The first sentence is addressed to a certain hearer (or a few hearers
present), and is meant to provoke the hearer’s reaction (answer). The
second sentence is not addressed to any particular person or persons and
the author does not know how anybody will react to it.
3. The two sentences differ greatly in length: the first consists of
only 6 words, while the second has 39.
4. The first sentence has no punctuation marks within it, while the
second has two commas and a semicolon.
5. The first sentence has only one finite verb (did… leave), while the
second has three (are, have, write).
These would seem to be some essential points of difference. We have riot
yet found out which of them are really relevant from a grammatical
viewpoint. We have not included in the above list those which are quite
obviously irrelevant from that viewpoint; for example, the first
sentence contains a proper name (England), while the second does not
contain any, or, the second sentence contains a possessive pronoun (our)
while the first does not, etc.
Let us now consider each of the five points of difference and see which
of them are relevant from a purely grammatical point of view, for a
classification of sentences.
Point 1 states a difference in the types of thought expressed in the two
sentences. Without going into details of logical analysis, we can merely
say that a question (as in the first sentence), and a proposition (as in
the second) are different types of thought, in the logical acceptation
of that term. The problem now is, whether this difference is or is not
of any importance from the grammatical viewpoint. In Modern English
sentences expressing questions (we will call them, as is usually done,
interrogative sentences) have some characteristic grammatical features.
These features are, in the first place, a specific word order in most
cases (predicate – subject), as against the order subject – predicate in
sentences expressing, propositions (declarative sentences). Thus word
order may, with some reservations, be considered as a feature
distinguishing this particular type of sentence from others. Another
grammatical feature characterizing interrogative sentences (again, with
some reservations) is the structure of the predicate verb, namely its
analytical form «do + infinitive» (in our first sentence, did., leave…,
not left), where in a declarative sentence there would be the simple
form (without do). However, this feature is not restricted to
interrogative sentences: as is well known, it also characterizes
negative sentences. Anyhow, we can (always with some reservations)
assume that word order and the form «do + infinitive» are grammatical
features characterizing interrogative sentences, and in so far the first
item of our list appears to be grammatically relevant. We will,
accordingly, accept the types «interrogative sentence» and «declarative
sentence» as grammatical types of sentences.
Point 2, treating of a difference between a sentence addressed to a
definite hearer (or reader) and a sentence free from such limitation,
appears not to be grammatical, important as it may be from other points
of view. Accordingly, we will not include this distinction among
grammatical features of sentences.
Point 3, showing a difference in the length of the sentences, namely in
the number of words making up each of them, does not in itself
constitute a grammatical feature, though it may be more remotely
connected with grammatical distinctions.
Point 4 bears a close relation to grammatical peculiarities; more
especially, a semicolon would be hardly possible in certain types of
sentences (so-called simple sentences). But punctuation marks within a
sentence are not in themselves grammatical features: they are rather a
consequence of grammatical features whose essence is to be looked for
Point 5, on the contrary, is very important from a grammatical
viewpoint. Indeed the number of finite verbs in a sentence is one of its
main grammatical features. In this particular instance it should be
noted that each of the three finite verbs has its own noun or pronoun
belonging to it and expressing the doer of the action denoted by the
verb: are has the noun people, have the pronoun we, and write the
pronoun who. These are sure signs of the sentence being composite, not
simple. Thus we will adopt the distinction between simple and composite
sentences as a distinction between two grammatical types.
The items we have established as a result of comparing the two sentences
given earlier certainly do not exhaust all the possible grammatical
features a sentence can be shown to possess. They were only meant to
illustrate the method to be applied if a reasonable grammatical
classification of sentences is to be achieved. If we were to take
another pair or other pairs of sentences and proceed to compare them in
a similar way we should arrive at some more grammatical distinctions
which have to be taken into account in making up a classification. We
will not give any more examples but we will take up the grammatical
classification of sentences in a systematic way.
It is evident that there are two principles of classification. Applying
one of them, we obtain a classification into declarative, interrogative,
and imperative sentences. We can call this principle that of «types of
The other classification is according to structure. Here we state two
main types: simple sentences and composite sentences. We will not now go
into the question of a further subdivision of composite sentences, or
into the question of possible intermediate types between simple and
composite ones. These questions will be treated later on (see pages 200
and 254 respectively). Meanwhile, then, we get the following results:
Types of Sentences According to Types of Communication
Sentences belonging to the several types differ from each other in some
grammatical points, too. Thus, interrogative sentences are characterized
by a special word order. In interrogative sentences very few modal words
are used, as the meanings of some modal words are incompatible with the
meaning of an interrogative sentence. It is clear that modal words
expressing full certainty, such as certainly, surely, naturally, etc.,
cannot appear in a sentence expressing a question. On the other hand,
the modal word indeed, with its peculiar shades of meaning, is quite
possible in interrogative sentences, for instance, Isn’t so indeed?
There are also sentences which might be termed semi-interrogative. The
third sentence in the following passage belongs to this type:
«Well, I daresay that’s more revealing about poor George than you. At
any rate, he seems to have survived it.» «Oh, you’ve seen him?» She did
not particularly mark her question for an answer, but it was, after all,
the pivot-point, and Bone found himself replying – that indeed he had.
(BUECHNER) The sentence Oh, you’ve seen him? is half-way between the
affirmative declarative sentence, You have seen him, and the
interrogative sentence, Have you seen him? Let us proceed to find out
the precise characteristics of the sentence in the text as against the
two sentences just given for the sake of comparison. From the
syntactical viewpoint, the sentence is declarative, as the mutual
position of subject and predicate is, you have seen, not have you seen,
which would be the interrogative order. In what way or ways does it,
then, differ from a usual declarative sentence? That is where the
question of the intonation comes in. Whether the question mark at the
end of the sentence does or does not mean that the intonation is not
that typical of a declarative sentence, is hard to tell, though it would
rather seem that it does. To be certain about this a phonetic experiment
should be undertaken, but in this particular case the author gives a
context which itself goes some way toward settling the question. The
author’s words, She did not particularly mark tier question for an
answer, seem to refer to the intonation with which it was pronounced:
the intonation must not have been clearly interrogative, that is not
clearly rising, though it must have differed from the regular falling
intonation to some extent: if it had not been at all different, the
sentence could not have been termed a «question», and the author does
call it a question. Reacting to this semi-interrogative intonation, Bone
(the man to whom the question was addressed) answered in the
affirmative. It seems the best way, on the whole, to term such sentences
semi-interrogative. Their purpose of course is to utter a somewhat
hesitating statement and to expect the other person to confirm it.
Imperative sentences also show marked peculiarities in the use of modal
words. It is quite evident, for example, that modal words expressing
possibility, such as perhaps, maybe, possibly, are incompatible with the
notion of order or request. Indeed, modal words are hardly used at all
in imperative sentences.
The notion of exclamatory sentences and their relation to the three
established types of declarative, interrogative, and imperative
sentences presents some difficulty. It would seem that the best way to
deal with it is this. On the one hand, every sentence, whether
narrative, interrogative, or imperative, may be exclamatory at the same
time, that is, it may convey the speaker’s feelings and be characterized
by emphatic intonation and by an exclamation mark in writing. This may
be seen in the following examples: But he can’t do anything to you! (R.
WEST) What can he possibly do to you! (Idem) Scarlett, spare me! (M.
On the other hand, a sentence may be purely exclamatory, that is, it may
not belong to any of the three types classed above. This would be the
case in the following examples: «Well, fiddle-dee-dee!» said Scarlett.
(M. MITCHELL) Oh, for God’s sake, Henry! (Idem)
However, it would perhaps be better to use different terms for sentences
which are purely exclamatory, and thus constitute a special type, and
those which add an emotional element to their basic quality, which is
either declarative, or interrogative, or imperative. If this view is
endorsed, we should have our classification of sentences according to
type of communication thus modified:
(1) Declarative (including emotional ones)
(2) Interrogative (including emotional ones)
(3) Imperative (including emotional ones)
This view would avoid the awkward contradiction of exclamatory sentences
constituting a special type and belonging to the first three types at
the same time.
Types of Sentences According to Structure
The relations between the two classifications should now be considered.
It is plain that a simple sentence can be either declarative, or
interrogative, or imperative. But things are somewhat more complicated
with reference to composite sentences. If both (or all) clauses making
up a composite sentence are declarative, the composite sentence as a
whole is of course declarative too. And so it is bound to be in every
case when both (or all) clauses making a composite sentence belong to
the same type of communication (that is the case in an overwhelming
majority of examples). Sometimes, however, composite sentences are found
which consist of clauses belonging to different types of communication.
Here it will sometimes he impossible to say to what type of
communication the composite sentence as a whole belongs. We will take up
this question when we come to the composite sentence.
Some other questions connected with the mutual relation of the two
classifications will be considered as we proceed.
3. The Composite Sentence
Composite sentences, as we know divide into compound and complex
sentences. The difference between them is not only in the relations of
coordination or subordination, as usually stated. It is also important
to know what is coordinated or subordinated. In compound sentences the
whole clauses are coordinated, together with their predications.
In complex sentences a clause is mostly subordinated not to the whole
principal clause but to some word in it which may be regarded as its
head-word. In I know where he lives the subordinate clause is an adjunct
of the objective verb know. In I know the place where he lives the
subordinate clause is the adjunct of the noun place. In The important
thing is where he lives the subordinate clause is an adjunct of the
link-verb is. The only exception is the subordinate clause in a sentence
like Where he lives is unknown in which it functions as the subject.
These peculiarities of compound and complex sentences may account for
the difference in their treatment. The clauses of compound sentences are
often regarded as independent. Some linguists are even of the opinion
that compound sentences are merely sequences of simple sentences,
combinations of sentences. x The clauses of a complex sentence, on the
contrary, are often treated as forming a unity, a simple sentence in
which some part is replaced by a clause a. Such extreme views are, to
our mind, not quite justified, especially if we take into consideration
that the border lines between coordination (parataxis) and subordination
(hypotaxis are fluid. A clause may be introduced by a typical
subordinating conjunction and yet its connection with the principal
clause is so loose that it can hardly be regarded as a subordinate
clause at all.
Cf. I met John, who told me (= and he told me) the big news.
Or, conversely, a coordinating conjunction may express relations typical
E.g. You must interfere now; for (cf. because) they are getting quite
beyond me. (Shaw).
As already noted, the demarcation line between a compound sentence and a
combination of sentences, as well as that between compound words and
combinations of words, is somewhat vague. Yet, the’ majority of compound
words and compound sentences are established in the language system as
definite units with definite structures. Besides, a similar vagueness
can be-observed with regard to the demarcation line between complex
sentences and combinations of sentences.
E. g. They are not people, but types. Which makes it difficult for the
actors to present them convincingly. (D.W.).
Though coordinating conjunctions may be found to connect independent
sentences, they are in an overwhelming majority of cases used to connect
As to the asyndetically connection of clauses, it is found both in
compound and in complex sentences. In either case the relations between
the clauses resemble those expressed by the corresponding conjunctions.
E.g. They had a little quarrel, he soon forgot. (London). Here the
asyndeton might be replaced by which or but.
Semantically the clauses of a compound sentence are usually connected
more closely than independent sentences. These relations may be reduced
to a few typical cases that can be listed.
The order of clauses within a compound sentence is often more rigid than
in complex sentences. He came at six and we had dinner together, (the
place of the coordinate clauses cannot be changed without impairing the
sense of the sentence).
Cf. If she wanted to do anything better she must have a great deal more.
(Dreiser). She must have a great deal more if she wanted to do anything
Especially close is the connection of the coordinate clauses in a case
He expected no answer, and a dull one would have been reproved.
The prop-word one is an additional link between the clauses.
Though there is some similarity in the function and combinability of
subordinate clauses and parts of the sentence, which is justly used as a
criterion for the classification of clauses, we must not identify
clauses and parts of simple sentences.
Apart from their having predications, clauses differ from parts of the
simple sentence in some other respects, too.
a) Very often it is not the clause itself but the conjunction that
defines its function and combinability. He speaks the truth may be a
simple sentence, a coordinate or a subordinate clause, depending on the
conjunction; and he speaks the truth is normally a coordinate clause,
when he speaks the truth is often a subordinate clause of time, if he
speaks the truth is mostly a subordinate clause of condition, etc.
Thus a conjunction is often a definite marker of a clause, which
distinguishes such clauses from most English words having no markers.
That probably accounts for the fact that clauses with such markers have
a greater freedom of distribution than most parts of a simple sentence.
b) There is often no correlation between clauses and parts of simple
sentences. I know that he is ill is correlated with I know that. I am
afraid tint he is ill is not correlated with.
I am afraid that. I hope that he is well is not correlated with I hope
The most important part of the sentence, the predicate, has no
correlative type of clause.
Certain clauses have, as a matter of fact, no counterparts among the
parts of the sentence.
E.g. I am a diplomat, aren’t I? (Hemingway).
4. The Compound Sentence
The clauses of compound sentences are of equal rank, but usually the
clause preceding the conjunction is regarded as the initial clause to
which the other clause is related. These relations are mostly determined
by the conjunction and are accordingly copulative, adversative,
disjunctive, causal, resultative x (see ‘Conjunctions’).
As to clauses linked asyndetically, their relations are likewise of
different nature, though, for the most part, copulative or
causal-resultative, as in.
His eyes were bloodshot and heavy, his face a deadly white… (Dickens).
Next day his knee was badly swollen, his walking tour was obviously
The compound sentence usually describes events in their natural order,
reflecting the march of events spoken of in the sequence of clauses.
E.g. He got the hitcher instead, and reached over, and drew in the end
of the tow-line; and they made a loop in it, and put it over their mast,
and then they tided up the sculls, and went and sat down in the stern,
and lit their pipes. (J. Jerome).
Herein lies the great expressive force of the compound sentence. It is
extensively used in colloquial speech and is often resorted to when
events are described in a stately or impressive way.
5. The Complex Sentence
The principal clauses of complex sentences are usually not classified,
though their meanings are not neutral with regard to the meanings of the
Cf. He will come because he needs your help.
He will come if he needs your help.
Two criteria are most often used in classifying the subordinate clauses
of complex sentences: meaning and combinability. When he came is a
clause of time according to the meaning imparted by when.
E.g. Wheti he came, it was already late.
But in the sentence I know when he came the same clause is considered
objective owing to its subordination to the objective verb know.
There are two ways of using the criterion of combinability. Either
subordinate clauses are classified in accordance with their relation to
the word of the principal clause «they are attached to, or they are
likened to some part of speech •with similar combinability… In the
sentences When he came is ‘ of no importance, I remember when he came
the combinability of the subordinate clause resembles that of a noun.
Cf. The fact is of no importance, I remember the fact.
Therefore the clause When he came is considered a noun-clause. If
classified in accordance with its relation to the predicate verb, the
first clause would be called a subject clause and the second an object
Similarly in This is the man who wishes to see you the subordinate
clause may be regarded as an adjective clause in accordance with its own
combinability, or as an attributive clause, since its head-word is a
Each of the criteria described has its advantages and disadvantages. But
in syntax, it seems, the correlation with the parts of the sentence is
preferable to the correlation v with the parts of speech. We shall
therefore classify the subordinate clauses into groups parallel to the
parts of the simple sentence. Accordingly we snail distinguish subject
clauses, complement clauses (predicative, objective, and adverbial),
attributive clauses, extension clauses and parenthetical clauses.
Subordinate clauses are connected with the principal clause by
conjunctions, conjunctive and relative pro-nouns or asyndetically.
E.g. I have been thinking of Cambridge all through dinner, after (a
conjunction) Martin had mentioned a friend of mine who (a relative
pronoun) had been killed that spring. (Snow).
He seemed to be asking what (a conjunctive pronoun) was the matter with
Mauntenay asked me if (a conjunction) / was satisfied with the way
(asyndetic subordination) I have spent my life, (lb.).
In connection with the structure of the complex sentence and the means
of subordination in it, it is necessary to dwell on the so-called
‘sequence of tenses’ which is often treated as a formal feature of the
complex sentence, a device of subordination. The rule of the sequence of
tenses is usually defined as follows: If the predicate verb of the
principal clause is in the present or the future tense, the predicate
verb of the subordinate clause may be used in any tense required by the
sense. If the predicate verb of the principal clause is in the past
tense, the verb of the subordinate clause must be used in the past tense
The regularity is supposed to be mostly or exclusively characteristic of
object subordinate clauses.
From the point of view of Morphology, the so-called sequence of tenses
is a morphological problem, not a syntactical one, inasmuch as the past
tense forms in the subordinate clauses are used in accordance with the
grammatical meanings they express. The following Russian example will
help to see it.,
Я тебе все расскажу, когда приеду.
Here the predicate verbs in the principal and in the subordinate clause
are both representatives of future tense grammemes. In the corresponding
English sentence there would be a future tense verb only in the
principal clause. I shall tell you everything when I come.
Now from the point of view of an Englishman the future tense in the
Russian subordinate clause might be regarded as depending on the future
tense of the principal clause, as a means of subordination, and a
certain rule of the sequence of the future tenses in Russian might be
There is no need, however, to look for any syntactical explanation of
the use of the future tense verb in the Russian subordinate clause. It
is used there in accordance with its meaning since it denotes an action
taking, place after the moment of speech.
What does need accounting for is the ‘future tense’ meaning of the
present tense grammeme come in the English subordinate clause. Here we
cannot do without ‘syntax. We must state that in certain syntactical
surroundings a present tense grammeme may acquire a ‘future tense’
We may see something similar in the following two sentences.
He began to wonder what she was doing, how his children were getting
Он стал задумываться над тем, что она поделывает, как живут его дети.
In the English sentence each ‘past tense’ verb refers to the past and is
used in accordance with its tense meaning. So there is no need for any
theory of the ‘sequence of tenses’ to account for their usage.
It is not so in the Russian sentence. The ‘present tense’ verbs
поделывает and живут have acquired a ‘past tense’ meaning under the
influence of the past tense of стал in the principal clause. So it is in
the Russian sentence that subordination is also shown by the relation of
the tense meanings in the subordinate clause to those in the principal
That the ‘sequence of tenses’ in English is not merely a formal device,
the agreement of the tense in the subordinate clause with that of the
principal clause, is proved by numerous deviations from the rules of
E.-g. Did she know that lam her father»? (Shaw). Yesterday he learned
that he is not a member of the Council. (Daily Worker).
It published a cartoon designed to suggest that Mrs. Knight’s teaching w
ill land a young man in the dock. (lb.).
There is no agreement in tense in the examples given above simply
because all the verbs are used in accordance with their tense meanings.
However, it cannot be denied that the clauses of a complex sentence are
for the most part united by the same time background. Very often it is
the tense of the principal clause that shows that background. The events
mentioned in the subordinate clause may be presented as unfolding
against that background, as valid or important for that period of time.
Only in this sense can we speak of the accord of tenses in the complex
sentence. This accord can be observed not only in complex sentences with
object subordinate clauses, as stated by some linguists, but in complex
sentences with various types of subordinate clauses:
That she knew of his weakness was not believed for a moment. (Braddon)
(a subject clause).
What he meant was that he was sorry. (Dickens) (a subject and a
We were sure he would understand it when the time came round. (Daily
Worker) (an extension clause, and an adverbial clause of time).
She was convinced he was failing in his duty as he did not possess a
great reputation. (Black) (an object clause and an adverbial clause of
They said I could apply for a second week if the doctor sent in a
certificate. (Gilbert) (an object clause and an adverbial clause of
Girl or no girl he did not want one that was not pretty. (Dreiser) (an
The mood of the predicate verb of a subordinate clause depends on the
principal clause to a greater extent than its tense.
As noted, certain types of principal clauses are commonly correlated
with the subjunctive mood in the subordinate clauses.
a) Clauses denoting subjective appraisal.
E. g. It is advisable that she be left in ignorance of the facts for a
little while. (Stevenson).
It was essential that I should have a seat in the lower chamber.
(Trollope). Incredible that she should never give him a chance to show
that she had really loved him. (Galsworthy).
b) Clauses containing verbs and nouns denoting suggestion, demand,
recommendation, insistence, perplexity, doubt, fear, anxiety, wish, etc.
He insisted that the boy remain in bed. (Cronin).
The demand that they should be forwarded to the company’s office came at
midnight. (The Worker).
At that moment she wished that she had not sent for him. (Eliot).
There is usually mood concord in conditional sentences.
E. g. If Savina were with him at this moment, his doubts and loneliness
would evaporate. (Wilson). (Subjunctive, in both clauses.)
If she wanted to do anything better or move higher she must have more –
a great deal more. (Dreiser). (Indicative, in both clauses.)
6. Types of Subordinate Clauses
The subject clause is the only one used in the function of a primary
part of the sentence.
The peculiarity of the subject clause is its inalienability from the
principal clause. Thus in the sentence What you mean is clear the
subordinate clause What you mean is used as the subject. If it is cut
off from the rest of the sentence, what remains (is clear) cannot be
treated as a clause either in meaning or in structure. It is synsemantic
1 in the sense that it can be understood only in combination with its
Subject clauses are introduced by conjunctions (if, whether, that),
conjunctive pro-nouns (who, which, what, whose, whichever, whoever,
whatever, etc.) and pro-adverbs (how, when, where, why).
Why she left him is a mystery. (Jerome).
a) Predicative Clauses
The sentence The question is where he can be found consists of the
principal clause the question is and the predicative clause where he can
be found. The predicative complement, as usual, is at the same time the
Predicative clauses are introduced by the same conjunctions and pronouns
as subject clauses. They are mostly attached to the link-verb to be in
the principal clause, though they may occur with to look, to feel and
some other links.
He felt as if something in him were collapsing. (Heym).
Each little household looked as though it were picnicking in its own
back room. (Oxenham).
Predicative clauses sometimes function as objective predicatives, as in
You’ll make her what you like, she is pliable enough. (Braddon).
b) Object Clauses
They are introduced by the same conjunctions and connective pronouns as
subject and predicative clauses. They are often joined to their
principal clauses asyndetically.
Object subordinate clauses may be either prepositionless or
Now tell me what happened at the meeting. (Shaw).
Cusins. Barbara: I am going to accept this offer.
Barbara: I thought you would. (lb.).
I was thinking of what the Third Reich had done and said so. (Snow).
An object clause (like an object in a simple sentence) may be preceded
by the anticipatory object it as in I think it very significant that he
refused to communicate with the Sheltons. (Braddon).
The usual place of an object clause ij after the principal clause,
though it may be placed before the principal clause for the purpose of
connecting two thoughts, the object clause denoting something familiar,
mentioned previously, what we proceed from.
Why he declined that offer I can’t tell. (Black).
Whether she had been wise in this she was utterly unable to decide.
c) Adverbial Clauses
Adverbial clauses serve to express a variety of adverbial relations and,
consequently, they are introduced by» a great number of subordinating
conjunctions. Asyndetic subordination is not typical of adverbial
clauses (barring those of condition) since it is mainly the conjunction
that differentiates one kind of adverbial clause from another.
Cf. When he was young… Though he was young… Because he was young…
Of the three types of adverbial complements – qualitative, quantitative
and circumstantial – adverbial clauses mostly function as the last
mentioned, as adverbials of situation or external conditions.
However, we take issue with L.S. Barkhudarov and D.A. Shteling over
their statement that adverbial clauses are used exclusively as adverbial
complements of external conditions.
The very examples they produce contradict this statement.
In the sentence Mike acted as though nothing had happened (Hemingway)
the adverbial clause shows how he acted, in what manner he acted.
Consequently, it shows the inner nature of the action, its quality.
The meaning of manner is mostly interwoven with that of comparison.
All hovels should serve it and love it as he did. (Randall).
Adverbial clauses may occupy different places in the complex sentence.
They occur before their principal clause, after it, and even within it,
which shows that the position of adverbial clauses (like that of
adverbial complements in simple sentences) is less fixed and rigid than
that of other subordinate clauses functioning as secondary parts.
E. g. I advise you, if you cherish your private life, not to let him
frighten you. (Randall).
If he had glanced upwards, he would never have suspected that she was
the grim bluestocking he awaited, (lb.).
You’ll get along too if you take us as you find us. (lb.).
In accordance with their relations to the principal clause, mostly
expressed by the conjunction or connective pronoun they are introduced
by, adverbial clauses are classified into those of place (introduced by
where, wherever), time (introduced by when, while, till, until, as,
since, before, after, once, as soon as, etc.), cause (conjunctions –
because, as, since) purpose (conjunctions – that, so that, in order
that, lest), condition (conjunctions – if, in case, provided, unless,
suppose, supposing), concession (conjunctions – though, although, as,
conjunctive pronouns whatever, whoever, whichever), manner, or
comparison (conjunctives–as if, as though).
He trudged doggedly on until he reached the flat. (Dreiser).
Because Carrie was pretty, the gentleman selected her photo, (lb.).
Madame Lamotte would see, if Annette didn’t. (Galsworthy).
Though he was «the limit», he was yet her property. (lb.).
Attributive clauses are postpositive adjuncts of nouns. They are
commonly divided into relative and appositive clauses. Relative clauses
are introduced by pronouns (or asyndetically). They are usually
subdivided into restrictive and descriptive. The former serve to
restrict the meaning of the antecedent, so that when the restrictive
clause is left out, the sense of the sentence is seriously impaired.
I don’t like girls who can’t hold their tongues. (Black). Then we had
that raid when Uncle Ned was killed. (Gilbert).
I know the stories you have been feeding him. (lb.).
Descriptive clauses serve to supply some additional information which
does not restrict or specify the meaning of the antecedent.
E. g. The following day, which was Wednesday, we went to a solicitor.
What about dining at the Embassy at Chawley, where they still brewed
A variety of attributive clauses is the appositive clause, which
formally differs from an attributive clause in being introduced by a
conjunction (that, if, whether).
The awful fact that I might never have met her is rather appalling.
He married you for the romantic reason that he had fallen in love with
Appositive subordinate clauses mostly occur after abstract nouns such as
idea, thought, feeling, fact, impression, reason, doubt, question, etc.
Extension clauses are postpositive adjuncts of adjectives, adverbs and
E. g. It is indeed doubtful how he had become aware that Roger was being
buried that day. (Galsworthy).
The subordinate clause is an extension of the adlink aware.
I am happy that everything went off so nicely.
The subordinate clause is an extension of the adjective happy.
She is so pretty that all our boys are mad about her. (Heyer).
The subordinate clause is an extension of the pro-adverb so.
His head was still in such a whirl that he felt confused. (Dreiser).
The subordinate clause is an extension of the pro-adjective such.
The subordinate clauses in the last two sentences have a distinct
consecutive meaning, and may be called ‘extensions of result’ (instead
of the traditional ‘adverbial clauses of result’).
Most authors who do not regard parenthetical elements as parts of the
sentence treat It is past ten, I think as a simple sentence. We do not
find this view convincing.
1. If I think is not some part of the sentence, it must be regarded as
an independent sentence. But it is not independent. Its intonation,
position and meaning show that it is connected with It is past ten, to
which it is appended and on which it depends.
2. The sentence discussed is not simple because it contains two
predications. This becomes especially evident when we compare It is past
ten, I think with I think it is past ten.
3. Since we regard parenthetical elements as parts of the sentence we
must treat It is past ten, I think as a complex sentence, i.e. a
sentence having one of its parts (parenthetical element) expressed by a
clause (a parenthetical clause).
In most cases parenthetical clauses are introduced asyndetically, though
now and again the conjunctions as, if, etc. are used.
He is, as I told you, their only son. (Dickens).
The happiness was a private, if you like, a happy one. (Snow).
Like parenthetical words and word-combinations they express the
speaker’s attitude towards the contents of the sentence or they show the
relation of the given thought to some thought previously mentioned or to
the source of information.
Nursing a wounded heart, he thought cynically, would not lead to
In the conclusion of my work, I would like to say some words according
the done investigation. The main research was written in the main part
of my course paper. So here I’ll give content of it with the description
of question discussed in each paragraph.
The main part of my work consists of following items:
· «The Sentence». Here I gave the definition to the term sentence.
· «Classification of Sentences», in this paragraph different types of
classification of English sentences are done.
· In the next five paragraphs «The Composite Sentence», «Compound
Sentence», and «Complex Sentence» I described types of sentences in
English due the classification according sentence structure. In
paragraph «Types of Subordinate Clauses» I gave the definition to the
different types of clauses.
Standing on such ground I will add that investigation in the questions
dealt complex and compound sentences in English is not finished yet, so
we will continue it while writing our qualification work.
I hope that my course paper will arise the sincere interest of students
and teachers to the problem of adjectives in contemporary English.
1. B. Ilyish, The Structure of Modern English.
2. V.N. Zhigadlo, I.P. Ivanova, L.L. Iofik.» Modern English language»
(Theoretical course grammar) Moscow, 1956 y.
3. Gordon E.M. The Use of adjectives in modern English.
4. М.М. Галииская. «Иностранные языки в высшей школе», вып. 3, М., 1964.
5. Г.Н. Воронцова. Очерки по грамматике английского языка. М., 1960
6. O. Jespersen. Essentials of English Grammar. N.Y., 1938
7. Иванова И.П., Бурлакова В.В., Почепцов Г.Г. Теоретическая грамматика
современного английского языка. – М., 1981. – 285 c.
8. Ch. Barber. Linguistic change in Present-Day English. Edinburgh, 1964
9. The Structure of American English. New York, 1958.
10. World Book Encyclopedia Vol. 1 NY. 1993 pp. 298-299
11. Internet http://madrasati2010.bravehost.com/adj.htm
12. Internet http://www.vestnik.vsu.ru
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