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KendallDavis
10-29-2017, 04:55 AM
Hello, I'm Kendall, I'm new here. I searched the forum before I posted, and I do not think that I am repeating a post. This is driving me crazy. I can't find the answer anywhere, but I did find one example.

Can you use an adjective clause without it being a comma splice?

Here are my examples with adj. clauses/phrases underlined:

His share of the money, consisting of $100,000, was given to him on Monday.

I arrived at Lucrezia’s and Kat, a heavy, short, redhead with a pleasant, fun look about her, sat in the waiting area near the front door.

Finally, sick of him treating her like a maid, she left his house to live in a woman’s shelter.


Are these adjective clauses or adjective phrases?

Or have I committed comma splicing?

Thank you in advance for any consideration!

cornflake
10-29-2017, 06:35 AM
Those are completely appropriate uses of commas, not splices.

JDlugosz
10-29-2017, 11:33 AM
Those are all phrases, not clauses. See, for example, www.write.com/writing-guides/general-writing/grammar/clauses-and-phrases/
Which I found using the Google search “phrase vs clause”

stiiiiiv
10-29-2017, 02:49 PM
Well, I've just relearned something today. Thanks for the link JDlugosz.

BethS
10-29-2017, 04:01 PM
What they said. A comma splice it when you join two independent sentences together with a comma instead of a semi-colon or conjunction.

blacbird
10-29-2017, 11:29 PM
Kendall, you'll get a lot of good advice here from various people, and the occasional argument, all of which are worth paying attention to. I'll also recommend the Purdue OWL site (google "Purdue OWL" will get you right there), about the best grammar/style site available. It contains a wealth of information on exactly the kind of question you posted here.

Meantime, welcome.

caw

KendallDavis
10-30-2017, 03:46 AM
Oh, My Goodness! So much help! Thank you! I do use Purdue Owl often. I could not really define what I needed to know. My problem could be that I have used the wrong term for the phrase, to begin with. I went to this suggested page, http://www.write.com/writing-guides/general-writing/grammar/clauses-and-phrases/, and it does not list adjective phrase. So maybe there is not such a thing as an adjective phrase.


So to put it in black and white would it be correct to say:

One may insert a ????? phrase into a sentence and separate the phrase with commas because it is nonessential information? (but then those are usually called nonessential clauses)


Thank you for the welcom blacbird!

Roxxsmom
10-30-2017, 05:29 AM
That's the one thing about the Purdue OWL and other writing sites: you need to know the name of what you're searching for and know the terminology used by a different site (because some rules have more than one name, especially on different sides of the Atlantic).

Though with Purdue OWL, you can find a general entry about the use of commas (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/607/) if you type "comma rules" in their search box.

There is indeed such a thing as an adjective clause (http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/adjective_clauses.htm), even though the term doesn't pop up on Purdue OWL. They are clauses that serves as adjectives, because they modify a noun in a sentence. So I assume an adjective phrase is a phrase that modifies a noun but doesn't contain a subject-verb combo. Clauses contain a subject and verb. Phrases can serve as adjectives as well, but they don't contain a subject-verb combo (http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/clauses.htm).

Dogs, the animal that is man's best friend, are highly social," would be an example of a sentence containing an adjective clause. The clause modifies dog. We set it off with commas because it doesn't change the core meaning of the sentence.

As I understand it, "Dogs, man's best friend, are highly social animals," contains an adjective phrase as modifier.

"Lying by the fire, the dog slept deeply" is is an adjective phrase that contains a participle. "lying by the fire" isn't considered a clause, because it technically contains no subject. It's a type of phrase called a participle phrase (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/627/02/), because it contains a participle. I assume it is called a phrase and not a clause because it doesn't contain a subject.

But here's what confuses the heck out of me. Because In the UK (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv305.shtml), they call the former participle clauses or adverbial clauses (I don't know why they call them adverbial when they serve as adjectives, except they can contain adverbs sometimes).

Relative pronouns can function as subjects, according to some sources. If that is true, then "The dog, who was lying by the fire, slept deeply" would indeed be a participle clause. But I haven't noticed the UK sites distinguishing between participle phrases and clauses either.

It seems to cause some consternation online too (https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-a-participle-clause-and-a-participle-phrase). I guess it's not important what one calls something if one uses commas correctly and doesn't dangle or misplace the participle or modifier.

But argh, it gives me a headache, and it makes googling (or asking) questions about usage difficult sometimes.

In any case, to Kendall (the op), you used commas correctly in your examples.


His share of the money, consisting of $100,000, was given to him on Monday. Would be an adjective phrase (and a participle phrase in US terminology). Except, it could be implied to mean "which consisted of 100,000." Then it would be a participle clause (as the British call it).


I arrived at Lucrezia’s and Kat, a heavy, short, redhead with a pleasant, fun look about her, sat in the waiting area near the front door. would be an adjective phrase (no subject-verb combo and no relative pronoun).


Finally, sick of him treating her like a maid, she left his house to live in a woman’s shelter. This is another phrase, because it doesn't contain a subject-verb combo. Except if you worded it: "Mary, who was sick of him treating her like a maid, left to live in a women's shelter," would be considered a clause, because "who" is also a relative pronoun.

I think :tongue I hope this didn't confuse you more, but the whole clause vs phrase thing gives my brain a workout.

KendallDavis
10-30-2017, 09:28 AM
Awesome. I am going to learn so much here! Thank you so much.

Dawnstorm
10-30-2017, 02:20 PM
Gah! Sorry. I spent hours writing a post, and went through three different versions. When I posted, apparently, the board software "remembered" stuff I deleted and created a composite mess. There's no way I have the time and energy to edit that so I just delete it all. Sorry.

Short version:

When you google "adjective phrase" you're very likely to come across definitions that are different from traditional grammar. Traditional grammar is still very popular in schools, but linguists mostly don't use it any more. The result is confusion.

Basically:

traditional grammar: X phrase ---> phrase functions like X
structural grammar: X phrase ---> phrase is organised around X

There's an unfortunate terminological confusion around "adverb"/"adverbial".

Basically, in traditional grammar there are "adverbial phrases" (they function like adverbs), while in structural grammar there are "adverb phrases" (they are organised around adverbs), and there's also the adjective "adverbial" which does refere to a function, but it's a good deal more complex than "functions as an adverb".

Sorry for the confusion. Bowing out,

Dawnstorm.

KendallDavis
10-30-2017, 07:40 PM
I had to learn to edit because I could not afford an editor. But just now, because of this one thread in a short amount of time, I have found out why grammatical terms have confused me to tears! I do not have a formal education as an editor, but I have a good grasp on what is wrong most of the time when I am editing. However, when I look something up, I end up on 15 different pages that say the same thing but have different ways of saying it. This adjective phrase inside commas is a problem that I have been trying to label for about a year, and I am very grateful to find out that I have been using them correctly for quite sometime now. It is only when someone asks me to help them edit that I have to say, "I can tell you what is wrong, and I can show you how to fix it, but I cannot tell you why!

Thank you so much for your trouble Dawnstorm. I have done the same thing, Dawnstorm, when trying to answer on forums that use this format. I feel like I hit pay dirt because I found absolutewrite.com forums. I have visited absolute write pages for a long time, and I never saw the forum before the other night, and I do not know why. I have very little time to become involved in internet communities, so I pick them carefully. I began looking at the whole forum and I was impressed! I thought, "These are the people that can tell me what the heck it is that I am doing wrong in plain English. I know that I am going to learn so much valuable information here.

JDlugosz
10-30-2017, 10:37 PM
I have a good grasp on what is wrong most of the time when I am editing. However, when I look something up, I end up on 15 different pages that say the same thing but have different ways of saying it.

Don’t worry about it. Most of what I need to know I learned in 6th grade. Can you break a sentence into subject and predicate? Then you can identify things that are not sentences. You can find out if a phrase is dependant or independent by trying it alone and seeing if it makes sense.

To see if a group of words forms a clause in some grammatical role, replace it with a single word. It doesn't have to have the same meaning at allv e.g. I use “blue” for prototype adjective.

Dawnstorm
10-31-2017, 01:54 AM
I had to learn to edit because I could not afford an editor. But just now, because of this one thread in a short amount of time, I have found out why grammatical terms have confused me to tears! I do not have a formal education as an editor, but I have a good grasp on what is wrong most of the time when I am editing. However, when I look something up, I end up on 15 different pages that say the same thing but have different ways of saying it. This adjective phrase inside commas is a problem that I have been trying to label for about a year, and I am very grateful to find out that I have been using them correctly for quite sometime now. It is only when someone asks me to help them edit that I have to say, "I can tell you what is wrong, and I can show you how to fix it, but I cannot tell you why!

I'm pretty much the opposite of you. I've written fiction for fun, but never really inteded to publish. I haven't written much in the last few years (due to a combination of job and stress), but I still conceptualise stories in my head all the time. When it comes to language, though, I'm a geek. My formal education includes linguistics, but I'm not well-versed in traditional grammar (which I don't like). I think you might be lucky that I messed up like this, because my longer posts are often... confused.

Taking examples in this thread: JDlugosz's link (which you talked about in post #7) is pretty firmly rooted in traditional grammar. The reason they don't list adjective phrases, I think, is that they're just unsystematically listing examples. The list is neither systematic nor exhaustive.

Roxxsmom's BBC-link (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv305.shtml), on the other hand, is not rooted in traditional grammar, so their definitions of clause vs. phrase are different. It's no surprise that this is confusing. If you come from traditional grammar, you expect clauses and phrases to be different things, in the sense that if it's a clause it can't be a phrase and vice versa. But in structural grammars, for example, clause and phrase are different compositional levels.

So they may call "Seeing an accident ahead" a clause, but that doesn't mean that they wouldn't, in other context, call the same string of words a phrase. It's a participial phrase that consists of exactly one participial phrase (the subject in the clause is not expressed, but there are syntactic rules that tell you where to look for it). This way of speaking makes little sense to someone schooled in traditional grammar.

As far as I can tell, the BBC-link makes one mistake, though: "...although use of the past participle form emphasises that the first action has been completed before the second action begins." "Having seen" is not the past participle form (that would simply be "seen"); it's sometimes called the perfect participle, even though it's strictly speaking a construction that consists of a present participle auxiliary verb and past participle main verb. [Hm, maybe they're calling it a "past participle form", because the main verb is in that form?]

They're definitely participle phrases, too, but when you talk about how they work in a sentence you usually call them participle clauses (and when you talk about how they work in a clause, you usually call them participle phrases). That's because the framework of structural grammar is a compisitional hierarchy: morphemes make words make phrases make clauses make sentences make paragraphs... (Sometimes higher level compositional units form part of lower compositional units: "the book which I bought yesterday" is a noun phrase which contains a relative clause).

Basically, in non-traditional grammar, if they call something a "participial clause" that does not entail that they couldn't also call it a participial phrase in another context, as it would in traditional grammar.

As a rule of thumb, you can expect schools to use traditional grammar, linguists to use any of the other grammars, and editors/creative writing seminars to use whatever strikes their fancy, sometimes a mix of both (which makes no theoretic sense but works for them in practise). In practise this means that you shouldn't spend too much time worrying about "correct" terminology, and you shouldn't shy away from simple phrasing if it gets the point across ("-ing form", if you're not sure you're dealing with a participle or gerund, or if your not sure what the person you're talking to thinks these terms mean).

KendallDavis
10-31-2017, 05:55 AM
This is such great advice, so thank you all.

Thanks JD, and yes, I can do that. Breaking it down to a subject and predicate is SO simple! That is kind of like adding "by zombies" to identify passive voice which, thank goodness, I can do without living dead things running around in my head.

Dawnstorm and Roxxsmom, again, thank you so much for your time! I received a limited public school education and attended college thirteen years after I quit high school at Texas Women's University. I cannot complain about the quality of my college education, but I only took the required undergrad English courses. I can say that of those four English classes, three of the professors did not teach and struggled with serious personality issues.

I actually learned my grammar in Spanish. I minored in Spanish, and ironically, that is how I learned to write English . . .go figure! I did not mean to be a writer, but through the years people kept hiring me to write when I did not know how to write. Now, I have to write because it is the only skill I have that allows me to work from home, and I have to work at home because I am disabled. When I became serious about making a living at writing, I did and still do not know what I am talking about when it comes to grammar and linguistics. I do know a bunch, and ninety percent of what I know is correct, but I cannot say why. The other ten percent that I do not know leaves me hanging in the air without a parachute while I search for a website that has examples of what I am looking for but do not know what to call it.

Again, this thread makes it all so simple! Why did my college English teachers drop the ball? Maybe tenure . . .

JDlugosz
10-31-2017, 06:55 AM
Again, this thread makes it all so simple! Why did my college English teachers drop the ball? Maybe tenure . . .

sounds like a story idea.

KendallDavis
10-31-2017, 08:26 AM
Oh, JD, there lies a truly salacious story with one of those professors. And, after the first three disastrous English classes, I signed up for the Rhodes Scholar professor who always had open seats because no one made an A in her class. I am not into the Shakespeare and the Elizabethian period of literature, and I especially did not want to study Shakespeare's plays, but that was her class. I wanted an education, and she gave me one! I was so disgusted with my first three English professors, and I wanted to learn. I made a B, and she had to help me with what I should have learned before. Before her class, I had to live in the English lab and that was a nightmare too because the tutors were students and not well educated. I wonder if TWU will refund my tuition.

JDlugosz
10-31-2017, 09:26 AM
In my experience, Literature is a different course than Composition, and grammar falls under the latter. Shakespere’s writing is barely understandable as modern English.

If you want a good sense of grammar, learn programming languages. To get good at essay and paragraph level composition, practice.

FWIW, your posts show good written English. For specific questions, also try english.stackexchange.com .

KendallDavis
10-31-2017, 10:34 PM
Thank you, JD. Oh, I know the difference, but I was not going to suffer through any more incompetent professors for English lessons, and that professor made up for the others with extra instruction in what I should have learned before I took her class. You are not kidding! An English theatre troop came to the campus and our class, and performed Taming of the Shrew. I attended the play and did not understand one word, and I could not sneak out. So boring!

I write a semimonthly column for a web magazine, hustle for writing gigs, and edit. I refer to stackexchange quite often. I like the personality of this forum. Are you talking about computer programming languages? I never in a million years would have thought something so technical and mathematical could teach grammar, LOL. I finally grasped grammar when I studied six semesters of Spanish. At this point in time, I want to be able to explain what I do in terms of grammar in case someone asks or I need to explain myself.

My columns receive comments, and only one time, someone blasted me for my grammar with a nasty, angry comment. I looked it over and found a comma out of place, which was a typo, and one faulty subject-verb agreement, but that was almost unavoidable in the context of the subject. I write history. I thanked the person who pointed out my mistakes and let my readers know that I welcome and enjoy criticism. It is difficult to edit yourself.

JDlugosz
11-01-2017, 12:38 AM
Taming of the Shrew. I attended the play and did not understand one word, and I could not sneak out. So boring!

Try the movie “Kiss Me, Kate”.

Shakespere in the park is less boring when your date is a big theater fan and and whispers commentary in your ear during “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream”.


Are you talking about computer programming languages? I never in a million years would have thought something so technical and mathematical could teach grammar, LOL.
Not teach grammer itself that tranfers to PIE languages (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_language), but rather a sensitivity to seeing grammatical structure and thinking in terms of syntax.

The problem is, in their native language many people just can’t perceive the underlying structure as a concept; speaking is intuative and they can’t disconnect that. That’s why it is often easier to learn grammar in a forign language and then see how yours is related.

AW Admin
11-01-2017, 01:00 AM
All clauses (https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=clause) are phrases.

Not all phrases are clauses.

A clause has a grammatical subject (someone or something doing the verb) and a verb.

A phrase (https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=phrase) can be tricky because grammarians and linguists use it to mean "A sequence of words that have meaning" whereas in ordinary speech it refers to a sequence of words, or even an interesting expression.

Fallen
11-01-2017, 02:31 PM
As far as I can tell, the BBC-link makes one mistake, though: "...although use of the past participle form emphasises that the first action has been completed before the second action begins." "Having seen" is not the past participle form (that would simply be "seen"); it's sometimes called the perfect participle, even though it's strictly speaking a construction that consists of a present participle auxiliary verb and past participle main verb. [Hm, maybe they're calling it a "past participle form", because the main verb is in that form?]

Strange they didn't tag it as a perfect participle (I'm UK and and was taught it as such), although it's not really surprising. Most UK English Lang teachers only get limited linguistic training at teacher training college, so the kids coming through stand little chance when they then leave school and take on the likes of the BBC. But it's proved your point on not worrying about needing to name it right in general: so long as you can understand why, the who sometimes doesn't always matter. (Although, damn... the BBC? I'm surprised no one's wrote a letter in already, lol :brit .)

blacbird
11-01-2017, 09:16 PM
The problem is, in their native language many people just can’t perceive the underlying structure as a concept; speaking is intuative and they can’t disconnect that. That’s why it is often easier to learn grammar in a forign language and then see how yours is related.

Yup. I learned a hell of a lot more about English grammar through studying Spanish than I ever did in any English class.

caw

KendallDavis
11-02-2017, 01:21 AM
Me too blacbird! And now I know why . . .

Duncan J Macdonald
11-03-2017, 09:55 PM
Yup. I learned a hell of a lot more about English grammar through studying Spanish than I ever did in any English class.

caw


Me too blacbird! And now I know why . . .

For me it was two years of Latin in High School. I followed that with a deep immersion into structured programming languages -- one term I studied over 14 of them. That gave me an appreciation for grammar and syntax.

KendallDavis
11-03-2017, 11:39 PM
Duncan, you are person number two that said programming languages teach grammar and syntax. I am such a techno dummy and math, UGH!

AW Admin
11-03-2017, 11:44 PM
Duncan, you are person number two that said programming languages teach grammar and syntax. I am such a techno dummy and math, UGH!

Programming doesn't have a lot to do with math; it's more about logic, and patterns, and think about processes one step at a time. It reminds me a lot of cooking, honestly. Or Music.

I learned a lot more about English grammar by studying other languages and the history of English as a language, than I did through any of numerous classes I took about modern English grammar.

KendallDavis
11-05-2017, 07:53 AM
I get cooking and music!