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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Clauses and Sentences

Relative Pronouns: What Is a Relative Pronoun?

Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 6:00 am

A relative pronoun substitutes for a noun to introduce a subordinate (dependent) clause, which is one that must be joined with an independent (main) clause to complete the sentence in which it appears. A dependent clause led by a relative pronoun is also referred to as a relative clause. You might hear it called an …

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Subordinating Conjunctions

Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at 6:00 am

A subordinating conjunction is a word or a phrase that begins and therefore introduces a dependent (subordinate) clause. The subordinate conjunction marks how the dependent clause will modify the independent clause with information such as manner, place, time, contrast, cause, or a condition. Some common subordinating conjunctions include: after except that that although if though …

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What Are Subordinate Clauses?

Posted on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, at 6:00 am

English has two kinds of clauses: subordinate (or dependent) and independent. The difference between them is that an independent clause can stand alone and a dependent one cannot. A subordinate clause by itself is a sentence fragment. Complete stand-alone sentence: I want the ice cream that is made with soy instead of milk and cream. Independent …

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Nonrestrictive Clause: What Is a Nonrestrictive Clause?

Posted on Friday, May 21, 2021, at 6:00 am

In a recent post we explained how a restrictive (essential) clause includes information that will change the meaning of a sentence if removed. Today we will look at its grammatical companion, the nonrestrictive (nonessential) clause. As its name suggests, a nonrestrictive clause is one that can be taken away from a sentence without changing understanding …

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Restrictive Clause: What Is a Restrictive Clause?

Posted on Monday, May 17, 2021, at 6:00 am

Understanding restrictive clauses is a valuable skill in applying English grammar. With this information, you'll gain further insight into how sentences are constructed for clarity. The Anatomy of a Restrictive Clause A restrictive clause is a dependent clause that modifies a word (noun). The information it gives is necessary for description or identification. In other …

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Direct Object: Examples of Direct Objects

Posted on Monday, May 10, 2021, at 6:00 am

Different words play different roles in a sentence. Direct objects are words that have a specific function in forming a statement. Being able to identify and understand their role is a useful skill for those who want to be clear and versatile in their writing. Today's post will review direct objects and give some examples …

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Which vs. That

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 6:00 am

The which vs. that usage dilemma pops up when working with dependent clauses—also known as subordinate clauses—that require one of these two relative pronouns. A dependent clause contains a subject and a predicate but cannot stand alone as a complete, independent sentence. Which and that are used with essential (also called restrictive) clauses, which contain …

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Compound Predicates

Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 6:00 am

The two main components of English sentences are subjects and predicates. Together, they form clauses. The complete subject is the main part of the sentence that contains at least one noun (or noun equivalent) and all of its modifiers. The complete predicate contains at least one verb and its auxiliaries, modifiers, and completing words if …

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Dependent and Independent Clauses

Posted on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at 6:00 am

Clauses are the foundation of English sentences. A clause is typically defined as related words that contain a subject and a predicate. There are two types of clauses: dependent and independent. A dependent (subordinate) clause is an incomplete thought that cannot stand alone as a sentence. An independent (main) clause is a complete thought that …

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This and That, These and Those, Than and Then

Posted on Friday, July 18, 2008, at 5:48 pm

This vs. That This and that are singular. This indicates something physically nearby. It may also refer to something symbolically or emotionally "close."  That can refer to something "over there" or to something that is not as symbolically or emotionally "close" as this is. Examples: This dog is mine. This is mine. That dog is …

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