Practical Grammar and Composition

- By Thomas Wood
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1. In thinking we arrange and associate ideas and objects together. Words are the symbols of ideas or objects. A Sentence is a group of words that expresses a single complete thought.
2. Sentences are of four kinds:
1. Declarative; a sentence that tells or declares something; as, That book is mine.
2. Imperative; a sentence that expresses a command; as, Bring me that book.
3. Interrogative; a sentence that asks a question; as, Is that book mine?
4. Exclamatory; a declarative, imperative, or interrogative sentence that expresses violent emotion, such as terror, surprise, or anger; as, You shall take that book! or, Can that book be mine?
3. Parts of Speech. Words have different uses in sentences. According to their uses, words are divided into classes called Parts of Speech. The parts of speech are as follows:
1. Noun; a word used as the name of something; as, man, box, Pittsburgh, Harry, silence, justice.
Page 2 2. Pronoun; a word used instead of a noun; as, I, he, it, that. Nouns, pronouns, or groups of words that are used as nouns or pronouns, are called by the general term, Substantives.
3. Adjective; a word used to limit or qualify the meaning of a noun or a pronoun; as, good, five, tall, many. The words a, an, and the are words used to modify nouns or pronouns. They are adjectives, but are usually called Articles.
4. Verb; a word used to state something about some person or thing; as, do, see, think, make.
5. Adverb; a word used to modify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb; as, very, slowly, clearly, often.
6. Preposition; a word used to join a substantive, as a modifier, to some other preceding word, and to show the relation of the substantive to that word; as, by, in, between, beyond.
7. Conjunction; a word used to connect words, phrases, clauses, and sentences; as, and, but, if, although, or.
8. Interjection; a word used to express surprise or emotion; as, Oh! Alas! Hurrah! Bah! Sometimes a word adds nothing to the meaning of the sentence, but helps to fill out its form or sound, and serves as a device to alter its natural order. Such a word is called an Expletive. In the following sentence there is an expletive: There are no such books in print.
4. A sentence is made up of distinct parts or elements. The essential or Principal Elements are the Subject and the Predicate. The Subject of a sentence is the part which mentions that about which something is said. The Predicate is the part which states that which is said about the subject. Man walks. In this sentence, man is the subject, and walks is the predicate.
Page 3 The subject may be simple or modified; that is, may consist of the subject alone, or of the subject with its modifiers. The same is true of the predicate. Thus, in the sentence, Man walks, there is a simple subject and a simple predicate. In the sentence, The good man walks very rapidly, there is a modified subject and a modified predicate.
There may be, also, more than one subject connected with the same predicate; as, The man and the woman walk. This is called a Compound Subject. A Compound Predicate consists of more than one predicate used with the same subject; as, The man both walks and runs.
5. Besides the principal elements in a sentence, there are Subordinate Elements. These are the Attribute Complement, the Object Complement, the Adjective Modifier, and the Adverbial Modifier. Some verbs, to complete their sense, need to be followed by some other word or group of words. These words which "complement," or complete the meanings of verbs are called Complements.
The Attribute Complement completes the meaning of the verb by stating some class, condition, or attribute of the subject; as, My friend is a student, I am well, The man is good Student, well, and good complete the meanings of their respective verbs, by stating some class, condition, or attribute of the subjects of the verbs.
The attribute complement usually follows the verb be or its forms, is, are, was, will be, etc. The attribute complement is usually a noun, pronoun, or adjective, although it may be a phrase or clause fulfilling the function of any of these parts of speech. It must not be confused with an adverb or an adverbial modifier. In the sentence, He is there, there is an adverb, not an attribute complement.
The verb used with an attribute complement, because such verb joins the subject to its attribute, is called the Copula ("to couple") or Copulative Verb.
Page 4 Some verbs require an object to complete their meaning. This object is called the Object Complement. In the sentence, I carry a book, the object, book, is required to complete the meaning of the transitive verb carry; so, also in the sentences, I hold the horse, and I touch a desk, the objects horse and desk are necessary to complete the meanings of their respective verbs. These verbs that require objects to complete their meaning are called Transitive Verbs.
Adjective and Adverbial Modifiers may consist simply of adjectives and adverbs, or of phrases and clauses used as adjectives or adverbs.
6. A Phrase is a group of words that is used as a single part of speech and that does not contain a subject and a predicate.
A Prepositional Phrase, always used as either an adjective or an adverbial modifier, consists of a preposition with its object and the modifiers of the object; as, He lives in Pittsburg, Mr. Smith of this place is the manager of the mill, The letter is in the nearest desk.
There are also Verb-phrases. A Verb-phrase is a phrase that serves as a verb; as, I am coming, He shall be told, He ought to have been told.
7. A Clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate; as, The man that I saw was tall. The clause, that I saw, contains both a subject, I, and a predicate, saw. This clause, since it merely states something of minor importance in the sentence, is called the Subordinate Clause. The Principal Clause, the one making the most important assertion, is, The man was tall. Clauses may be used as adjectives, as adverbs, and as nouns. A clause used as a noun is called a Substantive Clause. Examine the following examples:
Adjective Clause: The book that I want is a history. Adverbial Clause: He came when he had finished with the work. Noun Clause as subject: That I am here is true. Noun Clause as object: He said that I was mistaken.
Page 5 8. Sentences, as to their composition, are classified as follows: Simple; a sentence consisting of a single statement; as, The man walks.
Complex; a sentence consisting of one principal clause and one or more subordinate clauses; as, The man that I saw is tall.
Compound; a sentence consisting of two or more clauses of equal importance connected by conjunctions expressed or understood; as, The man is tall and walks rapidly, and Watch the little things; they are important.
Exercise 1 In this and in all following exercises, be able to give the reason for everything you do and for every conclusion you reach. Only intelligent and reasoning work is worth while.
In the following list of sentences:
(1) Determine the part of speech of every word.
(2) Determine the unmodified subject and the unmodified predicate; and the modified subject and the modified predicate.
(3) Pick out every attribute complement and every object complement.
(4) Pick out every phrase and determine whether it is a prepositional phrase or a verb-phrase. If it is a prepositional phrase, determine whether it is used as an adjective or as an adverb.
(5) Determine the principal and the subordinate clauses. If they are subordinate clauses, determine whether they are used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.
(6) Classify every sentence as simple, complex, or compound.
Houses are built of wood, brick, stone, and other materials, and are constructed in various styles. The path of glory leads but to the grave. We gladly accepted the offer which he made. I am nearly ready, and shall soon join you. There are few men who do not try to be honest. Page 6 Men may come, and men may go, but I go on forever. He works hard, and rests little. She is still no better, but we hope that there will be a change. Let each speak for himself. It was I who told him to go. To live an honest life should be the aim of every one. Who it really was no one knew, but all believed it to have been him. In city and in country people think very differently. To be or not to be, that is the question. In truth, I think that I saw a brother of his in that place. By a great effort he managed to make headway against the current. Beyond this, I have nothing to say. That we are never too old to learn is a true saying. Full often wished he that the wind might rage. Lucky is he who has been educated to bear his fate. It is I whom you see. The study of history is a study that demands a well-trained memory. Beyond the city limits the trains run more rapidly than they do here. Alas! I can travel no more. A lamp that smokes is a torture to one who wants to study.

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Word Lists:

Adverb : a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., gently, quite, then, there).

Adjective : a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it.

Noun : a word (other than a pronoun) used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things (common noun), or to name a particular one of these (proper noun).

Pronoun : a word that can function by itself as a noun phrase and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g., I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g., she, it, this).

Complement : a thing that completes or brings to perfection


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