Decoding Sentence Complexity
Every word or group of words that answers the question: “who or what?” before the verb is either a noun or pronoun. Any word or group of words that answers the question “who or what?” after the verb is either a noun, pronoun, or adjective. The questions are, “who or what verb?” and “verb who or what?”
This is crucial for understanding sentence structure because students are going to see that groups of words can function as subject nouns or as completers—words that complete the sentence after the verb.
Creating Sentence Complexity
Students should practice using the word “that” after a noun or pronoun and before a noun or pronoun. This use of the term “that” is extremely significant in English sentence structure. They will see that any construction or any group of words in a sentence which begins with the word “that” before or after a noun or pronoun is answering the question: “who or what?” “That” should also be placed immediately after adjectives to create explanatory clauses.
Students should practice explanatory or descriptive structures such as adverbs and appositives. In effect, they should discover that there are several ways to add more information about verbs or nouns in a sentence. They will see that some words describe nouns and verbs as well as answer questions about them.
Students should also practice using the words “which” or “who” directly after a noun and directly in front of a verb. When students place the words “who” or “which” directly after a noun, they must necessarily create a group of words that has a verb right after the “who” or “which” word that they have used. This is a great way for students to create complex sentences with adjectival clauses, which begin with relative pronouns.
Students should also practice beginning sentences with demonstrative pronouns and indefinite pronouns. Words such as “these” or “this” or “anyone” or “everyone” help students to create a variety of sentences especially when a noun is placed directly after any of those words.
Students should also practice combining several ideas into one sentence in order to show how close those ideas are and what the relationship between those ideas are. This is where it is crucial for them to learn how connectors such as conjunctions, and punctuation symbols such as commas, colons, and dashes allow them to embed several statements into one.
Rev. Vieira is a former high school master teacher, and the founder and president of ScholarSkills Learning Center.
“I would recommend Scholarskills™ because each student is provided with an individualized, diagnostic approach to learning which provides for instruction that supports intervention as well as acceleration. Scholarskills™ faculty have high expectations for all students. Students' needs are continuously addressed while their strengths are continuously challenged. They build progress and success one student at a time.” - Barbara Sanders, Retired Principal