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Sentence Structure

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Sentence Structure [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2017, 05:52
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Sentence structure

The dictionary definition of a simple sentence as per dictionary.com is said to be the one having a single main clause with a complete thought.

However, according to the link cited beneath, the sentence below is said to be a simple sentence in spite that there are at least eight different complete and equal thoughts expressed by eight verbs.
<https://www.thoughtco.com/identifying-sentences-by-structure-1692194>
The animals snarled and screeched and growled and whinnied and whimpered and hooted and howled and gobbled up the whole ice cream stand.
On the contrary, the definition of a compound sentence is said to be the one containing two or more coordinate independent clauses, usually joined by one or more conjunctions, but no dependent clause. However, it is not clearly defined whether the second independent thought should be represented by a subject and predicate or whether it is acceptable to elide the subject or the predicate and still call them independent clauses.
The teacher walked into the classroom, greeted the students, and took attendance.

But according to
<https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/160332-Simple-sentence>
This is said to be a compound sentence since this has three finite verbs.
It must be realized that the all the resources cited above are authentic English sources and it is surprising the debate seems to be not ending. Who's the last laugh?
What about this sentence below?
"He is a great singer and she, a great dancer." - The is no verb in the second part. Or can we say "He is a great singer and her, a great dancer."
IMO, as long as we are able to elide the subject or predicate, we should take them as compound sentences by virtue of the FANBOYS connecting two different thoughts.
Any advice Mike?
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Sentence Structure [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2017, 14:26
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Dear daagh,

My intelligent colleague, these are interesting questions. :-)

I've never heard any grammar definition include anything about "number of thoughts," because as soon as we get to counting how many thoughts are or aren't in a sentence, we are on extremely slippery ground. What on earth is exactly "one thought"? What that a thought? :-) The definitions I have heard all revolve around number of S-V pairs--much more concrete.

In my understanding, a simple sentence has a single clause, a single S-V pairing that anchors the sentence. We could have multiple subjects in parallel or multiple verbs in parallel. I have no problem calling this a simple sentence:
The animals snarled and screeched and growled and whinnied and whimpered and hooted and howled and gobbled up the whole ice cream stand.

Technically, if the subject or verb is elided in parallel structure, grammatically it still "counts" as if it is there. I am guessing that this sentence would be understood to have two independent clauses in parallel:
He is a great singer and she, a great dancer.
Similarly, this one would have three independent clauses in parallel:
The teacher walked into the classroom, greeted the students, and took attendance.
I am imagining that, technically, these would be compound sentences. At some point, it's a purely theoretical decision.

I think I would say that in the discussion of sentence structure, the distinction of simple vs. compound is not the most important. The distinctions of simple vs. complex and and compound vs. complex are the ones that really confuse people and really need to be understood.

Those are my thoughts.

Take care, my friend.
Mike :-)
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Re: Sentence Structure [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2017, 21:06
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Thanks, Mike. Your perception is going to help me when I teach school level children
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you can know a lot about something and not really understand it."-- a quote
No one knows this better than a GMAT student does.
Narendran +9198845 44509

Re: Sentence Structure   [#permalink] 15 Mar 2017, 21:06
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Sentence Structure

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