English Grammar Review
Sentences and Choices
Two common ways to describe sentences have to do with purpose and structure.
There are four categories of purpose for our sentences.
purpose : official description
state something : declarative
Our office in Tanzania is expanding.
ask something : interrogative
Where is our office in Dodoma?
shout something : exclamatory
A monsoon has hit Tanga!
demand something : imperative
Tell Kilontsi to order the parts.
[direct or command]
Call Hazara if you have a question.
[suggest or request]
Note: Imperative sentences often have no subject. The writer is talking to the reader, so the unwritten subject is you.
There are five ways that sentences can be structured.
1. A simple sentence consists of a single independent clause.
Ms. Kimbita invited me to the meeting.
2. A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses.
Ms. Kimbita invited me to the meeting, but I was not able to attend.
3. A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
I was not able to attend because of travel commitments.
4. A compound-complex sentence consists of two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.
Ms. Kimbita invited me to the meeting that was rescheduled, but I was not able to attend because of travel commitments.
5. An elliptical sentence consists of a small group of words that are treated as a complete sentence, even though the subject and verb may not be included.
Yes. More later.
Subjects and verbs are implied:
(My answer is) Yes. (I will tell you) More later.
There are three ways that compound sentences can be constructed.
IC = independent clause
cc = coordinating conjunction
te = transitional expression
(1) IC1, cc IC2
I invited all supervisors to the meeting, and Mr. Mzee accepted right away.
(2) IC1; IC2
Salim left the meeting early; he had to catch a flight.
(3) IC1; te, IC2
Not many people showed up to the meeting; nevertheless, Kidawa kept it lively.
Transitional expressions include: furthermore, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, otherwise, that is, then, therefore, thus.
Note: You can use (3) without the comma when using then, thus, or the coordinating conjunctions so and yet.
Let's wait five more minutes; then Kidawa can start her presentation.
If you do want the reader to pause, you can include the comma.
Question: When should I use (1) versus (2)?
Answer: If the ICs are closely related and there is a smooth flow from one to the other, use (1). If the ICs are complicated or if you want to make the reader pause, use (2).
Note: When you are not quite sure which construction is appropriate, always consider separating it into two sentences.
Lesson: Sentence Purpose and Structure
Module: Sentences and Choices
Course: English Grammar Review