kitchen table math, the sequel: help desk - sentence structure

## Saturday, October 23, 2010

### help desk - sentence structure

Alicia took an earlier bus than she needed to, for she didn’t want to be late.

Is this sentence simple or complex?

Hainish said...

Complex, or compound.

Definitely NOT simple.

There is a dependent clause (Alicia took an earlier bus than she needed to) and an independent clause (she didn’t want to be late).

(I just had to reevaluate which is the dependent and which is the independent.)

I suppose I should be thanking my 7th grade English teacher about now.

Anonymous said...

Compound sentence with two independent clauses.

See explanation at http://www.eslbee.com/sentences.htm

Crimson Wife said...

Two subjects (Alicia, she) and two predicates (took, didn't want) equals two clauses. The first is an independent clause, and the second is a dependent clause ("for" is a subordinating conjunction). So that would be a complex sentence.

Hainish said...

I think CW may be right.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking compound, too, but I have forgotten most of it all by now.

Of course, you could have googled it before the first response came, but what fun would that be?

SusanS

Redkudu said...

My vote is it's complex.

Here's my take:

Alicia took an earlier bus than she needed [to]. (Makes sense standing alone.)

She didn't want to be late. (Makes sense standing alone.)

'For' is a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). Coordinating conjunctions connect two independent clauses.

This is how we used to teach students (ahem, how I was taught) to recognize independent clauses - by memorizing the FANBOYS. Anything else after a comma and we were probably looking at a dependent clause.

Redkudu said...

Sorry, I should have said anything else and we should be *wary* of a dependent clause coming up. I'm reliving pieces of a middle school grammar lesson where this all started to make sense at last - I'm probably misstating what I've now managed to internalize!

Anonymous said...

un-english.
*nobody* says "for"
in this context;
try "because".

Linda Seebach said...

@ anonymous, who said:
un-english.
*nobody* says "for"
in this context;
try "because".

Nonsense. People will make claims about what is and isn't (good) English without even trying to look it up. You know, there are people -- they're called linguists who study this stuff.

Ever sung, "For he's a jolly good fellow . . .?"

Linda Seebach said...

Sorry -- please insert second dash following "inguists."

Debbie Stier said...

Will let you know tomorrow. Have broken out the Gruber Grammar book to read from beginning to end.