Speech & Language Therapy Information

Category Archives: Grammar

How to Identify Clauses

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Here is a simple procedure you can use if you are trying to identify clauses either in a transcription of spoken English or in a written English text. This is only a guide and it may not be sufficiently robust to enable you to identify some of the more complex clause structures: it is not […]

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Beyond the Clause

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Rank order We have seen (Clauses) that each higher order unit of organization in language is constituted from elements of the immediately lower unit of organization. We see that morphemes combine into words, that words combine into phrases and that phrases combine into clauses. There is, therefore, a rank order to the organization of clauses […]

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The Function of Phrases within Clauses

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Phrases take on different grammatical functions within clauses. There are five types: verb, subject, object, complement and adjunct.

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Clause Structure

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What is a clause? We represent our experiences linguistically by packaging information into clauses. As such, clauses can be considered to be the key unit of grammar. They are units of information structured around a verb phrase (VP) and, according to some theories (e.g. Systemic Functional Theory), a basic clause must consist minimally of a […]

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Clauses

Clauses

Phrases combine according to set rules into larger structures known as clauses. There are seven basic clause structures in English. Clauses may be further combined in spoken language into clause complexes.

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Prepositional Phrases

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We have noted how verb phrases have a verb as the head, noun phrases have a noun (or pronoun), and adverb phrases and adjective phrases have an adverb and an adjective as the head respectively. Prepositional phrases (PrepP) do not follow this pattern. They are unusual in that they do not have a head. Instead, […]

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Adverb Phrases

Adverb phrases

The head word of an adverb phrase (AdvP) is always an adverb, e.g.   As with noun phrases and adjective phrases, the head word (usually just referred to as the ‘head’) of an adverb phrase can also be pre-modified by the use of an intensifying adverb. Pre-modifying intensifying adverbs We know that intensifying adverbs are […]

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Adjective Phrases

Adjective phrases

As the name implies, adjective phrases (AdjP) have an adjective as the head word, e.g. Like noun phrases, the head adjective in an adjective phrase can also receive pre-modification through the use of an intensifying adverb. Pre-modifying intensifying adverbs We know that intensifying adverbs are capable of modifying gradable adjectives. For example, quiet is a […]

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Noun Phrases

Noun phrases

As with verb phrases, noun phrases (NP) must consist minimally of a head word. This may be either a noun or a pronoun, e.g.   The head in noun phrases may also receive pre-modification. There are five main ways this may be achieved. It may be pre-modified by (1) identifiers, (2) numerals, (3) quantifiers, (4) […]

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Verb Phrases

Verb phrases

The simplest verb phrase (VP) consists of just a head verb, which is always a lexical verb. So, in the utterance the boy hugged the dog, the verb phrase is simply the head lexical verb hugged. This can be represented diagrammatically by using what is known as a tree diagram. The head lexical verb in […]

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