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Two or more sentences may merge into a more complex sentence when one sentence keeps its independence and others are embedded into it as dependent clauses. In addition, some verbs may become verbals by the addition of the word to or by the loss of an auxiliary. As verbals, they are ready for embedding into another sentence. In this chapter you will learn that

  • a clause is a group of related words containing a subject+verb.
  • an independent clause is one that can stand by itself as a complete sentence (for example, Everyone can write).
  • a dependent clause is a clause that has given up its independence by adding a dependent word (for example, that everyone can write).
  • a phrase is a group of related words that does not contain a subject+verb combination (for example, before writing).
  • a verbal is a verb form that has lost its power to act as a verb in a sentence (for example, to write, writing, written).
  • a verbal phrase is a group of words containing a verbal and its completers or modifiers (for example, to write a clear essay).
  • sentences can be combined by embedding clauses or verbals.
  • sentences can be combined by compounding clauses or verbals.
Pages to be developed for this chapter:

1 Your writing
2 Verb → verbal phrase
3 Independent → dependent clause
4 Complex sentences
5 Review and practice
6 Playing with structure
7 Return to your writing
8 Mastery Test



The first link on the left leads to the Writing page. The other pages are under development. For comments or questions, contact SentenceSense@comcast.net .