Phrases, Clauses, and Sentences

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English I EOC AssessmentCommas
Grammar & PunctuationGrammar
LanguageEnglish Language
PunctuationCommas

Transcript

00:27

...as well as something to help you compose an essay that won't make your teacher's stomach

00:32

turn...

00:32

...let's examine a sentence, and see what makes it tick.

00:37

As you may already be aware, a sentence has both a subject and a verb.

00:41

It also has things like a capital letter at the beginning and some form of punctuation

00:45

at the end.

00:46

A foreign concept, we know. But those are just the basics. To make a sentence

00:51

really zing, pop, and wow...

00:53

...you'll want to experiment with phrasing.

00:55

Otherwise, your sentence is just going to lie there, like a dead fish.

00:59

It's going to stink like one, too. So... what exactly is a phrase, and how do

01:04

we use it to make our sentence awesome.

01:06

A phrase is really just a series of words you add to an otherwise boring sentence to

01:11

add description, explanation, context or color.

01:17

Phrases are needy... they can't exist on their own. They need to be part of a sentence in

01:21

order to survive. Total parasites.

01:24

A phrase can also have a subject or a verb, but not both. It you're reading something

01:29

with both, it's more likely a sentence.

01:33

So, take a sentence like "The cat ran." Whoop-dee-do.

01:37

If we add a phrase, we can turn it into "The cat with the extraordinarily long tail ran."

01:45

Still not a thrilling story, but at least we can clearly visualize this freakish animal.

01:50

"The cat with the extraordinarily long tail" is what's called a "noun phrase," because

01:56

it contains a noun.

01:58

The noun being "cat." Yeah, "tail" is a noun, too, but the cat is the subject here. Because

02:05

without the cat, we'd just have a tail, floating in space.

02:09

Which would really drive the neighbor's dog cray-cray.

02:11

Well, if there's a noun phrase, there must also be a "verb phrase," right?

02:15

You're so smart.

02:16

If we turn our original sentence into "The cat ran through the courtyard singing show

02:21

tunes"...

02:22

...we've once again made our sentence more interesting...

02:25

...except this time we're focusing on an action rather than on the physical description of

02:30

a noun.

02:30

So here, our verb phrase is "ran through the courtyard singing show tunes."

02:37

We're guessing... something from Cats. Now, what if we do something totally nutso...

02:46

...and combine our noun phrase with our verb phrase?

02:49

We get, "The cat with the extraordinarily long tail ran through the courtyard singing

02:55

show tunes."

02:56

Now that is one cat we'd like to get to know a little better.

02:59

However, there's one more tool we can use to make our sentence even more baller... a

03:05

"clause."

03:06

Put those away, cat. Other kind of "claws."

03:09

A clause actually can contain both a subject and a verb...

03:12

...but what makes it stand out is that it tells the reader a little something more about

03:17

the subject than a basic, skin 'n bones sentence.

03:20

We could say, "The cat ran, but he didn't make it to the bus on time."

03:24

We don't have that detailed description of his tail, and we don't know if he was singing

03:28

anything as he ran...

03:30

...but it's certainly more informative than "The cat ran."

03:33

We know what you're wondering. "Can we put together all three of these phrases, to make

03:38

the most incredible sentence of all time?

03:40

You betcha. "The cat with the extraordinarily long tail ran through the courtyard singing

03:46

show tunes, but he didn't make it to the bus on time."

03:50

Not only is this sentence insanely interesting, but it also contains a moral:

03:54

Save your singing for the shower, unless you want to be late for cat school

03:58

Having a knowledge of phrases and clauses in your back pocket will help you class up

04:02

your sentences...

04:04

...it will make your work more fun to read and, quite honestly, more fun to write, too.

04:10

Just don't have too much fun. You don't want your teacher to catch you enjoying yourself.