ATI TEAS GUIDE TO ENGLISH & LANGUAGE USAGE | SENTENCE STRUCTURES

ATI TEAS ENGLISH AND LANGUAGE USAGE REVIEW – SENTENCE STRUCTURE

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QUIZ QUESTIONS LISTED AT END OF REVIEW

Sentence Structure questions address clarity of expression, subordinating conjunctions, and how to combine sentences into a single sentence. You must also be able to distinguish between simple sentences, complex sentences, compound sentences, and sentence fragments.

UNDERSTANDING SIMPLE SENTENCES

 A simple sentence has one independent clause and expresses a complete thought.

Ezra went into the store.

This sentence is considered simple because it expresses a complete thought and contains only one independent clause and no dependent clauses. The following sentence is longer, but it is also a simple sentence.

Ezra went to the store and bought some chocolate milk for his sister.

UNDERSTANDING SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

In the chapter on punctuation, we will review the use of coordinating conjunctions. These are connecting words, such as and, but, so, and for, which may be used to join two independent clauses.

Ezra went to the store, and he bought some milk.

When a coordinating conjunction is used to join two independent clauses, as we saw earlier, the conjunction must always be preceded by a comma.

Ezra went to the store and he bout some milk. Incorrect.

Ezra went to the store, and he bought some milk. Correct.

Independent clauses are considered independent because they can stand as complete sentences on their own. When we join two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction, we are joining two clauses of equal weight. Neither is dependent on the other.

Dependent clauses, on the other hand, do not form complete sentences on their own. They start with connecting words known as subordinating conjunctions.

Dependent Clauses

  • Because she left early
  • Although the package was heavy
  • While Mr. Galloway waited
  • When the game was over
  • After the crowd dispersed

 

Subordinating conjunctions are connecting words used to start dependent clauses. They include the words because, although, while, when, after, before, until, since, as, if, and once, among others. Subordinating conjunctions can be used to join two clauses in a way that places emphasis on one of the clauses over the other.

Because its batteries had run low, the alarm clock suddenly stopped working.

In the example above, the underlined clause is an independent clause. It is placed at the end of the sentence, after the dependent clause Because its batteries had run low. This combination and ordering of clauses emphasizes the information at the end of the sentence. Here are a few more examples.

Although pizza is high in calories, it’s my favorite food.

While the teacher was away, the students talked loudly.

Until it started to snow, the weather had been gorgeous.




 

UNDERSTANDING COMPLEX SENTENCES

Complex sentences contain an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

When Ezra went to the store, he bought some milk.

In this example, the underline clause is an independent clause. The dependent clause is at the beginning of the sentence: When Ezra went to the store.

The following examples are all complex sentences, too.

Although pizza is high in calories, it’s my favorite food.

While the teacher was away, the students talked loudly.

Until it started to snow, the weather had been gorgeous.

Each of these examples contains an independent clause (underlined) plus a dependent clause with a subordinating conjunction.

UNDERSTANDING COMPOUND SENTENCES

Compound sentences contain two or more independent clauses. They can be joined by a semicolon or by a comma and a coordinating conjunction.

The professor gave a great lecture today; we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The professor gave a great lecture today, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

UNDERSTANDING SENTENCE FRAGMENTS

A sentence fragment is a group of words that cannot stand on its own as a complete sentence. Sentence fragments often consist of solitary dependent clauses.

After Martin thought it over.                   Fragment

This example is a fragment, because the clause After Martin Thought it over doesn’t provide enough information to stand on its own. We can change this fragment into a simple or complex sentence.

Martin thought it over.         Simple sentence

After Martin thought it over, he decided to attend.           Complex sentence

Sentence fragments can also be created if a sentence is missing its subject or its verb.

Thinking it over in the middle of the afternoon.                 Fragment

Martin, who spent a lot of time thinking it over.                Fragment

As with the earlier sentence fragment, these examples do not stand as complete sentences on their own. One way to correct these examples would be to add a subject to the first sentence and a main verb to the second.

Martin was thinking it over in the middle of the afternoon.                 Simple sentence

Martin, who spent a lot of time thinking it over, eventually decided to attend. Simple sentence




 

UNDERSTANDING RUN-ON SENTENCES

A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses are joined without an appropriate conjunction or punctuation. There are two types of run-on sentences: fused sentences and comma splices. A fused sentence has two independent clauses joined together with no conjunction or punctuation.

The cat likes milk she drinks it as often as she can. Incorrect.

A comma splice incorrectly joins two independent clauses with a comma.

The cat likes milk, she drinks it as often as she can. Incorrect.

To correct a run-on sentence, you have four options:

  1. Separate the two independent clauses into two sentences.
    1. The cat likes milk. She drinks it as often as she can. Correct.
  2. Correctly join the two independent clauses with a semicolon or with a common and coordinating conjunction.
    1. The cat likes milk; she drinks it as often as she can. Correct.
    2. The cat likes milk, so she drinks it as often as she can. Correct.
  3. Subordinate one of the two independent clauses so that you have a complex sentence.
    1. Because the cat likes milk, she drinks it as often as she can. Correct.
  4. Change the sentence into a simple sentence with only one independent clause.
    1. The cat likes to drink milk as often as she can.

UNDERSTANDING DICTION

Diction refers to the choice and use of words. In the Reading section of this book, you learned about how writers choose words to achieve a certain tone in their writing. Writers also vary their diction according to their purpose and audience. Formal diction is used in formal situations such as business writing and scholarly works. Informal diction is used in informal situations such as writing to our friends. Colloquial diction uses words common in the everyday speech of a time and region. Slang is the use of words that are newly coined, very informal, or impolite.

You will need to be able to distinguish between formal and informal modes of writing and identify slang.

ATI TEAS ENGLISH & LANGUAGE USAGE Sentence Structure

Quiz for ATI TEAS ENGLISH AND LANGUAGE USAGE REVIEW SERIES