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  1. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Grammar What are clauses?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Link the Writer, Jan 9, 2017.

    "...the last thing I needed was his infamous wrath directed at me. Last guy who did that wounded up with a smashed-in nose and face-first in the frozen snow outside."

    @Mckk took notice that this sentence was very confusing due to the clause: 'last guy who did that'. This implied that Amos (the narrator) beat the shit out of a guy who directed his wrath at him.

    I've a grammar question, what are clauses? How do I spot one and use them in a way so it's not so confusing?

    Sorry for the seemingly basic question, but I just wanted to get it cleared up.
     
  2. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm just rereading what I wrote and "Last guy who did that" is a sentence, not a clause. "last thing I needed..." line, however, is a clause :D

    Sorryyyyyyy :brb:

    This might explain why you're so confused...
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think the issue here is anything to do with what a clause is - it's an unclear antecedent for "that".

    What does "that" refer back to? The last guy who did... what?
     
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  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that the issue with this sentence is that you need a "that" that can be something that a specific person does. For example:

    He tried to kick my puppy. Last person who did that ended up in the hospital.

    "did that" matches up with "kick my puppy".

    But "his infamous wrath directed at me" doesn't match nicely as a thing that a person does. It sounds more like a thing that happened.

    There was a bus strike. Last time that happened, I lost two days of work.

    "that happened" matches up with "bus strike"

    So I see two rewrites for this.

    The first one treats the wrath as an event:

    ...the last thing I needed was his infamous wrath directed at me. Last time that happened, the offender wound up with a smashed-in nose and face-first in the frozen snow outside.

    The second one treats it as an action by a specific actor:

    ...the last thing I needed was for him to direct his infamous wrath at me. Last guy who did that wound up with a smashed-in nose and face-first in the frozen snow outside.
     
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  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    I thought he meant "The last thing I needed was his infamous wrath directed at me. The last guy to annoy him wound up face first in the snow outside with a smashed nose"

    That is its the guy with the'infamous wrath' who's smashing peoples noses not amos
     
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  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see your point. If that's the meaning, then my first sample sentence is ambiguous, while the second would need to be rewritten:

    ...the last thing I needed was for me to trigger his infamous wrath. Last guy who did that wound up with a smashed-in nose and face-first in the frozen snow outside.
     
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  7. jjwiggin

    jjwiggin Senior Member

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    Does it matter?
    a clause is a group of words with a subject + verb combination. There are two different types of clauses - DEPENDENT and INDEPENDENT.

    With that said, the best version of the sentence is the one Big Soft Moose suggested:

    The last guy to annoy him wound up face first in the snow outside with a smashed nose"
     
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  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Who wants waffles...? Contributor

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    Simple my dear fellow. Here is a whole horde of Clauses, though they look like they are ready to rumble. :supergrin:
    Army_of_evil_Santas_fights_horde_of_murderous_penguins_in_bizarre_Christmas_animation.jpg
     
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  9. jjwiggin

    jjwiggin Senior Member

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    Does it matter?

    LOL!!! I am Clause-trophobic!!!
     
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  10. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That must be the fate for all the naughty boys and girls.
     
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  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Who wants waffles...? Contributor

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    Some how makes getting coal and reindeer crap less unpleasant, than being savagely beaten by
    a bunch of pissed off Santas. :p
     
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  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Seeing now that the original impetus for the query was something other than what is or isn't a clause, do you still want help with that question?
     
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  13. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Nah, you can lock. Thanks, everyone.
     
  14. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Just so that anyone finding this thread in future gets what they were looking for, clauses are basically the building blocks of sentences.
    "The dog bit the ball." Has one clause.
    "The dog bit the ball and ran away with it." Has two, separated by 'and'.

    You can think of them basically as every discrete item of meaning in a sentence. You can have lots of different kind of clauses, like vocative or adverbial, but there you're starting to get into the real linguistic bones of the language.
     

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