1. stratwriter
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    stratwriter New Member

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    Using independent and dependent clauses.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by stratwriter, Oct 28, 2012.

    I get a tad confused with independent and dependent clauses and proper structure. Can a dependent clause begin with any word? Or should 'and' be added after the comma?

    Example 1: < Her red locks streamed outward in the wind, away from her face and beaming blue eyes. >
    Ex. 2: < Sharon was aware of his tendency to judge others, and often laughed him off as a sourpuss. > I'm not sure, but I think this one needs 'she' in it with the comma, which would make them two independent clauses.

    Thanks! Great forum by the way. I'm new, and this is my first post. Hi all!
     
  2. Michelle7
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    Michelle7 Member

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    I don't know. I like the first example because it's something I can see. The second example sounds like your telling me as opposed to my seeing it.
     
  3. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Conjunctions aren't necessary, as your first example shows.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither one needs a conjunction... imo, the second reads better without the 'and'...doesn't need 'she' either way...
     
  5. stratwriter
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    stratwriter New Member

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    Thanks! Though I often perceive my sentences as written correctly, I get unsure of myself when I brush up on grammar rules. I've found that grammar rules often use the simplest sentences as examples, and they don't always help with the more complex ones. Not that the above ex. are complex, but rules pertaining to clauses state that a conjunction (and, but, for, or, ) or dependent marker word (after, although, as, as if, etc.) must be used, and a comma used only between two independent clauses. Neither of my above examples fit into those rules. And I can't find much info pertaining to dependent clauses following a comma and an independent clause. So that confuses me.

    How about this one:
    < The tip pointed toward the heavens as a beacon, immersed in the blue sky and balmy September sunshine. >

    Think it needs something? Is the dependent clause alright as is? Or should it read: < The tip pointed toward the heavens as a beacon in the blue sky and balmy September sunshine. > -- or -- < Immersed in the blue sky and balmy September sunshine, the tip pointed toward the heavens as a beacon. >
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure what you see as independent and dependent clauses there. I'd read "beaming" as an adjective and can only see one clause with "streamed" as it's verb. It would be possible to read the sentence as an elision: "Her red locks streamed outward in the wind, [and] [her red locks streamed] away from her face and beaming blue eyes" in which case "[her red locks streamed] away from her face and beaming blue eyes" is a second independent clause.

    In the second case you are right: making it "Sharon was aware of his tendency to judge others, and she often laughed him off as a sourpuss" would make "she often laughed him off as a sourpuss" an independent clause, so you have two independent coordinated clauses. But if you leave "she" out then it's understood anyway, so you still have two independent clauses. I know "often laughed him off as a sourpuss" doesn't look like an independent clause. On its own it isn't, so if you were showing the clause analysis you would show the elided word (by convention in square brackets, as I did above): "[She] often laughed him off as a sourpuss".
     
  7. stratwriter
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    stratwriter New Member

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    So, the original sentence reading < Sharon was aware of his tendency to judge others, and often laughed him off as a sourpuss. > is grammatically correct as is? Is it grammatically correct without the comma as well? : < Sharon was aware of his tendency to judge others and often laughed him off as a sourpuss. >
     
  8. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    When it comes to clauses you must not confuse them with prepositional phrases. In your first sentence,
    The first half is an independent clause which you have then modified with a prepositional phrase stating where or how her "red locks streamed". The second helf is entirely dependent, but doesn't require the conjunction, "and". If you put "and" the sentence would make logical sense but it would feel clumsy to read.

    In your second example
    The first half is an independent clause and could stand alone. The second half is a dependent clause 1st because it is implying the word "she" from the first half and 2nd, because it begins with "and". The sentence is fine as it is, but if you wanted to divide them, you would replace the comma with a period and replace "and" with "She". But It is better to apply the ", and" in this case because it is to simple sentences combined to form a compound sentence.

    The structure of sentences is tricky, but the deal is this: Use simple sentences [containing only one clause] for simple things; combine two simple sentences into a compound sentence if they share subject or work together to form a whole idea; and create complex sentences [using because, although, or when, or etc. as subordinators to create a dependent clause] if you have two simple sentences that show cause and effect, or a comparison, or add a preposition [as in your first sentence].

    For example:

    Simple: Alicia goes to the library and studies every day.
    Compound: I tried to speak Spanish, and my friend tried to speak English.
    Complex: After they finished studying, Juan and Maria went to the movies.

    ALSO, ALWAYS AVOID RUN-ON SENTENCES such as this because they tend to confuse readers because they have multiple ideas expressed in one sentence, yet they don't have any clear distinction between one clause or the next and can be very cumbersome to comprehend because they show a lack of clarity in thought on the writer's part, as evident by the "stream of consciousness" style of this run-on.
     
  9. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    An independent clause expresses on complete thought with clear subjects and clear predicate.
    Ex. Alicia goes to the library.
    EX. Alicia and Mark meet there.

    A dependent clause is one that expresses an idea or most of it but is clearly missing something.
    Ex. But is clearly missing something. [what is this about?]
    Ex. When Alicia arrived, [what did she do?]

    You combine clauses [independent and dependent] to form complex sentences. You can combine two independent clauses to form a compound sentence by using a conjuntion such as "and" or "but".

    Ex. Compound:
    Alicia went to the Library. + Alicia Studied. = Alicia went to the library, and she studied.
    Ex. Complex: Alicia met Mark. + When she went to the library = When she went to the library, Alicia met Mark.

    I hope that helps, in conjunction with my last post lol.
     
  10. stratwriter
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    stratwriter New Member

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    Thanks, Andrae! Thanks, all.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    < The tip pointed toward the heavens as a beacon, immersed in the blue sky and balmy September sunshine. >

    ...makes little sense to me and too purple, to boot...

    ...a 'beacon' is a light, so how can a 'tip' be one?... or be 'immersed' in either a blue sky or sunshine?... seems you're trying to cram too much info into one poor sentence... i'd strongly suggest you follow that best of all writers' axioms, 'less is more' and its old army cousin, the 'K.I.S.S.!' principle...
     
  12. stratwriter
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    stratwriter New Member

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    Right again. Not the best choice of words. Thanks.

    A 'beacon' is also a symbol of hope, which the tip of a steeple can be seen as. You're correct about the rest, though. Thanks, because I really hadn't noticed. I wrote that line so long ago.
     

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