Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.15. Use language structures and features to produce texts

ryanrori January 24, 2021

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Communication would be a great deal easier if we all knew what the other person meant.  Often what we want to say can come out completely wrong if we do not show the reader through language conventions what we mean with our message.

By following the basic rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling everyone with whom you communicate will arrive at the same meaning of what is being said.

Express meaning clearly

Standard written English requires correct sentence structure and punctuation. To understand sentence structure and to recognize and fix problems correctly, you need to know the definitions of a phrase, an independent clause, a dependent clause, and a sentence.

  • A phrase is a group of words that does not have a subject or a verb, or both. It does not make sense by itself.
  • An independent clause has a subject and a predicate, and can stand alone as a complete sentence.
  • A dependent clause has a subject and a predicate, but depends on an independent clause to be complete. Dependent clauses are introduced by subordinating conjunctions (after, although, because, before, if, though, unless, until, when, where, who, which, that).
  • A sentence is a group of words containing at least one independent clause and expressing a complete idea. It has a subject and a verb and can stand alone.

To make your written work more understandable and easier to read, try using a variety of basic sentence structures. We can categorize sentences into four main types, depending on the number and type of clauses they contain:

  • Simple (one independent clause): 

We drove from Cape Town to Johannesburg in one day.

  • Compound (more than one independent clause): 

We were exhausted, but we arrived in time for my father’s birthday party. 

  • Complex (one independent clause and at least one dependent clause): 

Although he is now 79 years old, he still claims to be 65.

  • Compound-complex (more than one independent clause and at least one dependent clause): 

After it was all over, my dad claimed he knew we were planning something, but we think he was really surprised.

Sentences have to be combined to avoid the monotony that would result if all sentences were short and of equal length.