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Sentence Basics and Sentence Patterns
Notice that these dependent clauses ("When the dog barked" and "that he went to sleep") don't form complete thoughts or sentences that could stand by themselves. The words that turn independent clauses into dependent clauses are called "subordinate conjunctions" and "relative pronouns" (follow these links for more information).
Dependent and independent clauses form the main parts of the basic sentence patterns of the English language. Being able to identify these larger structures to sentences will help you when you punctuate.
The Four Sentence Patterns
It can be good practice for you to read passages and identify independent and dependent clauses. In the following passage, dependent clauses are marked in red, and independent clauses are marked in blue:
"Listen to your feelings"-from Writing with Style by John Trimble
a subject that means something to you, emotionally as well as intellectually.
As in romancing, so in writing: you're
most effective when your heart is in it. If
you can't honestly say, "Now this is something I really think is
important," you're a fool to write on
it. Take a stroll around the neighborhood;
find a coffeehouse or park bench and brood awhile;
call up a friend and vent. Do
whatever you need to do to figure out what you'd really enjoy tangling
with, because it's going to define your life
for a major hunk of time, isn't it? Eventually,
you'll come up with a subject, or a new angle on the old subject, that
ignites your interest.
If you feel in good spirits, you might consider writing what's called an "appreciation"-of a person, an event, a character, a book, a locale, or whatever. Share your sense of delight; let yourself sing. If, on the other hand, you feel combative, consider writing a salty dissent a la Maureen Dowd or H. L. Mencken. Whatever your inclination, turn you feelings to account--work in harmony with them, actively tap them. If you ignore your real feelings, which is perilously easy to do, or if you try to write with just your head, the result will be phony, bloodless prose, and the labor of writing may be excruciating. You'll feel like you're performing an intellectual minuet.
Look at these examples of the four sentence patterns from the passage above:
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