Frame 17, Page 33 – Questions about sentence fragments.

(1) Why is ‘d’ a sentence fragment? I heard that after 'because', we can put a complete sentence, so I cannot understand why this sentence is a sentence fragment.

(2) Is a sentence fragment a phrase or a dependent clause?

(3) What is the difference between a simple sentence and a sentence fragment?

ANSWER:

Question (1)

A complete sentence contains at least one independent clause. "Because" is a subordinate conjunction, and it begins dependent clauses. When a sentence begins with "because," it usually means that the sentence is beginning with a dependent clause, and this is acceptable as long as it is then followed by an independent clause, also. In other words, there must always be an independent clause in the sentence somewhere for the sentence to be a complete sentence.

The type of sentence that contains both a dependent and independent clause is called a complex sentence. You will be learning about complex sentences in iEnglish 205: The Complex Sentence. Another way to understand the answer, then, is to say that clauses that begin with "because" can only be used in complex sentences.

Question (2)

A sentence fragment is any group of words that does not contain an independent clause. It can be a phrase--which is a group of words that does not contain both a subject and predicate--or it can also be a dependent clause.

Question (3)

A sentence fragment is a group of words that cannot be written as a complete sentence.

A simple sentence, on the other hand, is one type of a complete sentence--the type that is composed of one independent clause.

Sentence fragments are unacceptable in academic writing. The sentences that we write in academic writing should be, at the very least, simple sentences.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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Frame 18, Page 35 – What is the difference between a clause and a phrase?

I understand that a phrase does not contain both a subject and a predicate. But then what does a phrase contain? Only words? I really want to understand and grasp this concept.

ANSWER:

That's great that you're really thinking about what you're learning!

Let's have a look at an example from Frame 17:

Christy has many foreign friends online.

Christy has what? This "what" is the noun phrase: many foreign friends online, of which the head noun is "friends." This is an example of a phrase.

Ths noun phrase in this sentence is functioning as an object. You learned in iEnglish 201: The Complete Sentence that noun phrases can also function as subjects.

The noun phrase is one type of phrase. There is another type of phrase that you should already be familiar with by now: the verb phrase. There are two kinds of verb phrase, the simple verb phrase and complex verb phrase.

We can also have adjective phrases, for example:

enormously tall
wildly carefree
beautifully decorated


So as you can see, phrases are groups of words that function together or belong together in some way, even though they don't have a subject and a predicate like clauses do.

I hope this helps.

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Professor iEnglish

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Frame 22, Page 43 – What is the difference between a coordinating conjunction and an adverb?

I cannot distinguish between the coordinating conjunction and adverb. Please solve my question. Thank you.

ANSWER:

This is a good question. You'll be learning more about coordinating conjunctions and adverbs in iEnglish 204: The Compound Sentence.

For now, though, it will help you know that there are only seven coordinating conjunctions in the English language. They may be remembered with the acronym FANBOYS:

For
And
Nor
But
Or
Yet
So

All other 'joining' words are either subordinating conjunctions or adverbs. Subordinating conjunctions cannot start independent clauses, but adverbs can.

I hope this helps.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish





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Frame 23, Page 45 – Why are ‘but’ and ‘however’ considered as different?

According to book 203, 'but' is a coordinating conjunction and 'however' is an adverb. I think both have same meaning...What is the difference? The book also said that adverbs are preferred for formal academic writing, and coordinating conjunctions are preferred for informal writing. I don't know why they are differently used. For example, 'but' and 'however' sound almost same to me.

ANSWER:

Yes, you are right in that "but" and "however" are similar in meaning. They are different, however, in their grammatical functions.

"But" is a coordinating conjunction, and it can join two clauses together with a comma, for example:

Charlie saw Austin, but Austin did not see Charlie.

"However" cannot be used in this way, grammatically. To use "however" to join two clauses together, you must have a semicolon (;) rather than a comma, for example:

Charlie saw Austin; however, Austin did not see Charlie.

Otherwise, there must be a period between the clause beginning with "however" and the clause before it:

Charlie saw Austin. However, Austin did not see Charlie.

These are compound sentences, and the next book, iEnglish 204: The Compound Sentence will explain this type of sentence in more detail.

As for your other question, coordinating conjunctions are fine in academic writing as long as they do not start sentences.

Coordinating conjunctions are special in that they can begin independent clauses, and sentences can start with them, grammatically speaking. However, sentences that begin with coordinating conjunctions are generally more appropriate for informal, rather than formal academic, writing:

Charlie saw Austin. But Austin did not see Charlie. (informal)
Charlie saw Austin. However, Austin did not see Charlie. (formal)

I hope this helps,

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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Frame 37, Page 73 – How can I know whether a verb can form a complete predicate without a complement or not?

The sentence like 'S+V' is composed of subject +a complete intransitive verb. I wonder how to tell whether the main verb is a complete intransitive verb or not. I find that many verbs can be used as both S+V and S+V+O.

ex) light
I light a candle S+V+O
The fire wouldn't light S+V

It's very confusing.

ANSWER:

Yes, some verbs are used in both patterns, S+V and S+V+O.

The best way to be sure is check a good learners' dictionary like the Collins COBUILD Advanced Learners Dictionary, or any dictionary with the word "learners" in the title. These dictionaries will have grammatical information about words that are presented in a way that is easier for learners of English to understand.

When you check the dictionary, look for grammatical information next to the main dictionary definition, or examine the examples.

Essentially, a verb requires some kind of complement if the clause doesn't make sense when the verb is used by itself.

In your example above, would the first sentence make sense without the object, i.e.:

I light.

Light what?

Remember that language is just a tool for communication. Your purpose in learning English is to learn how to use this tool to make meaning and communicate with people who are not speakers of your own language.

So think about the meaning. Focus on using your understanding of English grammar and vocabulary to make meaning that is clear to others. When you use a verb, ask yourself whether the meaning itself is complete.

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Professor iEnglish

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Frame 40, Page 79 – Why do ‘go’ and ‘wait’ form complete predicates without a complement?

Generally, I can distinguish verbs that can form complete predicates without a complement and verb that can't. However, I don't understand why some verbs can form complete predicates without a comeplement.

ex) go, wait..

I thought these verbs need objects. Why can these verbs form complete predicates without a complement?

ANSWER:

Verbs can form complete predicates without a complement if they can be used by themselves to form complete sentences with complete meaning in the predicate, for example:

I will go.

I will wait.

These are complete sentences with complete meaning in the predicate.

That doesn't mean that sometimes additional information isn't needed to make the meaning complete for the audience. For instance, some of the people that this writer is communicating with may find the following more complete in meaning:

I will go tomorrow.

I will wait here.

"Tomorrow" and "here" deliver additional information that may complete the meaning for the intended audience. However, these are not objects of the verbs "go" or "wait" for the following reasons:

Objects are noun phrases without which the meaning of the verb would not be complete under any circumstances, no matter who the audience were.

The words "tomorrow" and "here," on the other hand, are adverbs that are sometimes required to make the meaning clear for the audience but not at other times. They deliver information that is optional, depending on the circumstances.

I hope this helps.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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