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    Grammatical Form of English Verb Clauses

    Grammatical Form of English Verb Clauses

    Consisting of a subject and a predicate, clauses are the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition. Verb clauses are the only independent clauses in the English language. Some grammars use the terms main clause, matrix clause, independent clause, and superordinate clause for verb clauses.

    All verb clauses are finite. A finite clause contains a finite, or conjugated, verb phrase functioning as a predicate. Finite verb phrases express person (first, second, third), number (singular, plural), and tense (present, past). For example:

    • Princess Meghan married Prince Harry.
    • You are always complaining about slaving away in the kitchen.
    • The microwave has popped the popcorn perfectly.
    • That small wonder over there is going to make your life so much better.

    Verb clauses perform verbal functions. Verbal functions correspond to the forms of sentences in English: declarative sentences, explanatory sentences, interrogative sentences, and imperative sentences. The four verbal functions in English grammar are:

    • Declaration or statement (declarative sentence)
    • Exclamation (exclamatory sentence)
    • Question (interrogative sentence)
    • Command or imperative (imperative sentence)

    For example:

    • Beverly took away Murray’s tighty-whities. (declaration)
    • I need to command respect with my giant hair! (exclamation)
    • Are we finally getting rid of that terrible blonde helmet? (question)
    • Take a chill pill! (imperative)

    All sentences contain at least one verb clause.

    A verb clause is an independent clause that performs a verbal function and that consists of a subject and a predicate.

    Summary

    Verb clauses in English grammar are independent clauses that consist of a subject and a predicate. Verb clauses perform verbal functions.

    Verb clause is a grammatical form.

    The four grammatical functions performed by verb clauses are declaration or statement, exclamation, question, and command or imperative. The function of the verb clause corresponds to the type of sentence: declarative sentence, exclamatory sentence, interrogative sentence, and imperative sentence.

    All verb clauses are finite. Finite clauses contain conjugated verbs functioning as predicates.

    Some grammars use the terms main clause, matrix clause, independent clause, and superordinate clause for verb clauses.

    References

    Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
    Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
    Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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