Topic: Clause

These resources relate to clauses. Understanding how clauses work is useful for appreciating the different kinds of effects that writers achieve by using different structures, and also for developing writing skills.

Clause types and discourse functions

Analysing declarative, imperative, interrogative and exclamative clauses

In this activity we will look at text examples drawn from our corpus and think about the clause types used within the extracts (for example, declarative, imperative, interrogative or exclamative clauses).

Click on the interactive whiteboard icon (top right) and work through the following slides with students. Read each extract and analyse it by answering the accompanying questions. After each extract, there are some suggestions and pointers.

Clause types in context

Exploring how different clause types help to construct social meaning

The four clause types are a central part of English grammar. An understanding of declarative, imperative, interrogative and exclamative clause types can help students recognise how writers use these structures to create meaning in different ways, and can help them develop a better repertoire of structures in their own writing.

Clause types in context: Activity

You’re visiting a friend’s house. You’re in a cold room and the window is open. What can you say to each of the following to get the window shut?

  1. your friend
  2. your friend’s grandmother
  3. your friend’s annoying little brother

You’re carrying several boxes of DVDs and books. Then you drop one, spilling its contents all over the floor. You need help and there are people around who could be of assistance. What do you say to each of the following?

Politeness and directness

This task is about using verbs and modal verbs in different ways. We all know that people can be direct or indirect in the ways they phrase things. We often use imperative forms to give instructions, but sometimes these might be seen as too direct and blunt. We sometimes soften them with modal verbs, among other tools.

Politeness and directness: Activity

Try to make the following expressions less direct. Compose alternative sentences for each one.

  1. Shut the window.
  2. Tell me your name.
  3. Stop talking.

What changes did you make to render the expressions less direct? 

Now, make the following expressions more direct. Compose an alternative sentence for each example.

Relative clauses in composition

In this activity, students will look at examples of sentences and turn them into one sentence that incorporates a relative clause with a relative pronoun. You can review relative clauses and relative pronouns using the Englicious glossary and 'Professional development' pages, found in the 'Content type' menu to the left.

Relative clauses in composition: Activity

  • This is a dance group. This dance group does not exclude people.
  • This is a dance group which does not exclude people

  • The same status was granted to Montenegro. Montenegro’s inhabitants were encouraged to identify with the territory’s historic identity.
  • The same status was granted to Montenegro, whose inhabitants were encouraged to identify with the territory’s historic identity.

Subordinate clauses in sentences

The Activity page appears in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right corner of this page. The slide in the Activity page can be displayed on a projector or smart board.

On the slide are several subordinate clauses, including finite and nonfinite clauses. Ask your students to compose 10 new sentences, each containing at least one of the subordinate clauses. Encourage them to use more than one subordinate clause in a sentence.

There are some strong grammatical patterns that guide us. For example, compare:

Subordinate clauses in sentences: Activity

Try to construct 10 new sentences, each containing one or more of these subordinate clauses.

Ambiguity and headlines

Newspaper headlines often compress sequences of actions into very compact structures. Sometimes the meaning becomes ambiguous as a result.

Ambiguity and headlines: Activity

Police chase driver in hospital

Violinist linked to Japan Airlines crash blossoms

BT ducks break-up with price cuts

Reagan wins on budget, but more lies ahead

Juvenile court to try shooting defendant

Clauses in composition

Goals

  • Identify sentence structures and clauses in example texts.
  • Describe and evaluate the effects of the clause and sentence structure choices in the examples.

Lesson Plan

Looking at clauses and sentences in linguistic detail can give you an extra level of analysis that can be used to open up a text’s depths. The slides in the Activity page in the right hand menu present some examples. The examples include interesting clause structures, all of which seem to be designed to create effects.

Clauses in composition: Activity

Extract from a charity advertisement:

Nana-Kwame will never see his brothers. He will never see his sisters. He will never see his mother or father. They are dead.

Extract from a charity advertisement:

You can make the difference. You have the power. If you give just £10 we can make huge changes to these children’s lives.

Taken from Louis Sachar, Holes

Past participles in composition

This activity involves working with nonfinite clauses to do some sentence-splitting and sentence-joining. The purpose is to develop your awareness of the different kinds of structures that are available to you as a writer.

Past participles in composition: Activity 1

His report, published yesterday, demands fundamental changes in the way safety is regulated in the North Sea. →

His report was published yesterday. It demands fundamental changes in the way safety is regulated in the North Sea.

Invented in the late sixties, the melotron used a complicated system of loop tape recordings to achieve an effect similar to sampling. →

Past participles in composition: Activity 2

Beckett’s early work was written in English over the period from 1929 to 1938. It seems restless, nomadic. →

Written in English over the period from 1929 to 1938, Beckett’s early work seems restless, nomadic.

The electromagnetic bell was patented in 1878 by Thomas Watson. It is rugged, reliable and loud enough to be heard from some appreciable distance. →

Present participles in composition

This activity involves working with nonfinite clauses to do some sentence-splitting and sentence-joining. The purpose is to develop your awareness of the different kinds of structures that are available to you as a writer.

Present participles in composition: Activity 1

Returning to the area after the War, Pissaro largely retained the same fiction about Louveciennes. →

Pissaro returned to the area after the War. He largely retained the same fiction about Louveciennes.

Having fallen completely from view since May, he finds another window suddenly beckoning. →

Present participles in composition: Activity 2

I arrived just before lunch. I looked for Harry Frampton in the dining room. →

Arriving just before lunch, I looked for Harry Frampton in the dining room.

The ZR-1 looked little different from the normal Corvette. It performed like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. →

Sentence building

In this activity, students ask the question: what is a sentence? Then, they answer it using an interactive smart board sentence generator.

Goals

  • Identify sentences and non-sentences.
  • Create some examples of sentences and non-sentences using an interactive smart board sentence generator.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will answer the question: what is a sentence?

Sentence generator

What did you and your family do on the holidays? In this activity you will experiment with our special sentence generator which reports on some unusual holiday happenings.

Sentence generator: Activity

Click on each column to scroll up and down, and make different combinations.

Click on the dice at the top of the columns to get a new random ordering of elements.

In slide 2, re-order elements by clicking within a column and dragging to left or right (or by clicking on the arrows at the tops of the columns).

Sentences with 'because'

In this activity, students practise composing sentences with the word because.

Goals

  • Identify the causal relationship that underlies use of because.
  • Compose some reasonable sentences using because.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will practise using the word because.

»

Englicious contains many resources for English language in schools, but the vast majority of them require you to register and log in first. For more information, see What is Englicious?

Englicious (C) Survey of English Usage, UCL, 2012-17 | Supported by the AHRC and EPSRC. | Cookies