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Subordinate Clauses

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Subordinate Clauses

Postby Enigma » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:45 pm

The following examples of subordinate adverbials clearly modify the main clause, answering a question such as when? What's more, the connection between the two clauses is simple and clear:

I walked home, whereas he ran home.

I screamed, while he whispered. (when did he scream?)

I wanted to go home, whereas he wanted to stay.

While we were at lunch, the car broke down. (when did it break down?)


Would you say the below examples are also grammatical--even though their subordinate clauses appear to weakly, if at all, connect to the main clause, and appear not to answer a typical adverbial question as the ones above do?


"What is it about these verbs that allow them to have these structures without the auxiliary, while other verbs are not able to omit the auxiliary?"

"Unlike need, they are not auxiliaries, and this is made clear by the to-infinitive that follows these verbs, whereas auxiliaries are followed by the bare infinitive."
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle
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Postby saparris » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:29 pm

I walked home, whereas he ran home.

I screamed, while he whispered. (when did he scream?)

I wanted to go home, whereas he wanted to stay.

While we were at lunch, the car broke down. (when did it break down?)


I agree that these are clear. In sentence number two, the comma after "screamed" indicates to me that you're using "while" in the sense of "whereas" or "but," so the timing of the screaming is really not the issue. You're simply saying that you did one thing and he did another.

Same for sentence four. At some point during lunch, the car broke down. But why was the car running during lunch. Were you eating and driving at the same time?

"What is it about these verbs that allow them to have these structures without the auxiliary, while other verbs are not able to omit the auxiliary?"

"Unlike need, they are not auxiliaries, and this is made clear by the to-infinitive that follows these verbs, whereas auxiliaries are followed by the bare infinitive."


I don't see much wrong with the first of these two. It's grammatical, and it makes sense.

The second one is a different story. I realize that I'm reading out of context, but what is need? What does they refer to? What does this refer to? Why so much passive voice (in the second main clause and in the dependent clause)? The dependent clause is grammatical, but the sentence is poorly written, and that's why it's not as readable as the others.
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Postby Enigma » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:18 pm

"What is it about these verbs that allow them to have these structures without the auxiliary, while other verbs are not able to omit the auxiliary?"

I don't see much wrong with the first of these two. It's grammatical, and it makes sense.


'these verbs that allow them to have..." (noun phrase + relative clause)

WHILE

'other verbs are not able to...' (noun phase as subject + predicate)

Above is the logical connection that 'while' makes, correct?

Do you not think it is either ungrammatical or poorly written for it to have two entirely different sentence structures joined by a conjunction that is showing contrast?
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle
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Postby saparris » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:58 pm

Do you not think it is either ungrammatical or poorly written for it to have two entirely different sentence structures joined by a conjunction that is showing contrast?


All I can say is that a good writer would employ sentence structures that are more "parallel" and therefore easier to read.
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Postby Enigma » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:59 pm

saparris wrote:
Do you not think it is either ungrammatical or poorly written for it to have two entirely different sentence structures joined by a conjunction that is showing contrast?


All I can say is that a good writer would employ sentence structures that are more "parallel" and therefore easier to read.


Agreed! I never really considered parallelism on a clause level. This sentence made me more aware of its importance though!
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle
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Postby saparris » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:04 am

We haven't talked about parallelism at the clause level, but it makes for better writing, doesn't it!
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Postby Enigma » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:09 am

saparris wrote:We haven't talked about parallelism at the clause level, but it makes for better writing, doesn't it!


If we covered every aspect of grammar and good writing, I think our eyes would turn square in shape.
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Postby saparris » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:47 am

Then get some square glasses to match,
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Postby Enigma » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:08 pm

saparris wrote:Then get some square glasses to match,


I already own a pair. The only problem is they are polaroid, as they are the free pair given out to watch the 3D movie Avatar.
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