BE SURE THE SENTENCE HAS A SUBJECT AND A VERB
You know that a sentence in English should have a subject and a verb. The most common types of problems that you will encounter in structure questions on the TOEFL test have to do with subjects and verbs: perhaps the sentence is missing either the subject or the verb or both, or perhaps the sentence has an extra subject or verb.
———- was backed up for miles on the freeway.
(B) In the morning
In this example you should notice immediately that there is a verb was, but there is no subject. Answer (C) is the best answer because it contains the singular subject traffic that agrees with the singular verb was. Answer (A), yesterday, and answer (B), in the morning, are not subjects, so they are not correct. Although answer (D), cars, could be a subject, it is not correct because cars is plural and it does not agree with the singular verb was.
EXERCISE 1: Underline the subjects once and the verbs twice in each of the following sentences. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).
- Last week went fishing for trout at the nearby mountain lake.
- A schedule of the day’s events can be obtained at the front desk.
- A job on the day shift or the night shift at the plant available.
- The new computer program has provides a variety of helpful applications.
- The box can be opened only with a special screwdriver.
- The assigned text for history class it contains more than twenty chapters.
- The papers in the wastebasket should be emptied into the trash can outside.
- Departure before dawn on a boat in the middle of the harbor.
- Yesterday found an interesting article on pollution.
10. The new machine is processes 50 percent more than the previous machine.
USE COORDINATE CONNECTORS CORRECTLY
When you have two clauses in an English sentence, you must connect the two clauses correctly. One way to connect two clauses is to use and, but, or, so, or yet between the clauses.
- Tom is singing, and Paul is dancing.
- Tom is tall, but Paul is short.
- Tom must write the letter, or Paul will do it.
- Tom told a joke, so Paul laughed.
- Tom is tired, yet he is not going to sleep.
In each of these examples, there are two clauses that are correctly joined with a coordinate conjunction and, but, or, so, or yet, and a comma (,).
A power failure occurred, ———– the lamps went out.
In this example you should notice quickly that there are two clauses, a power failure occurred and the lamps went out. This sentence needs a connector to join the two clauses. Then, later; and next are not connectors, so answers (A), (C), and (D) are not correct. The best answer is answer (B) because so can connect two clauses.
Each of the following sentences contains more than one clause. Underline the subjects once and the verbs twice. Circle the connectors. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).
- The software should be used on a laptop computer, and this computer is a laptop.
- The rain clouds can be seen in the distance, but no has fallen.
- They are trying to sell their house, it has been on the market for two months.
- So the quality of the print was not good, I changed the typewriter ribbon.
- The lifeguard will warn you about the riptides, or she may require you to get out of the water.
- You should have finished the work yesterday, yet is not close to being finished today.
- The phone rang again and again, so the receptionist was not able to get much work done.
- The missing wallet was found, but the cash and credit cards had been removed.
- Or you can drive your car for another 2,000 miles, you can get it fixed.
- The chemist was awarded the Nobel Prize, he flew to Europe to accept it
- USE ADVERB TIME AND CAUSE CONNECTORS CORRECTLY
Sentences with adverb clauses have two basic patterns in English. Study the clauses and connectors in the following sentences:
- I will sign the check before you leave.
- Before you leave, I will sign the check.
In each of these examples, there are two clauses: you leave and I will sign the check, and the clause you leave is an adverb time clause because it is introduced with the connector before. In the first example the connector before comes in the middle of the sentence, and no comma (,) is used.
In the second example the connector before comes at the beginning of the sentence. In this pattern, when the connector comes at the beginning of the sentence, a comma (,) is required in the middle of the sentence.
——— was late, I missed the appointment.
- The train
- Since he
In this example you should recognize easily that there is a verb, was, that needs a subject. There is also another clause, I missed the appointment.
If you choose answer (A) or answer (C) , you will have a subject for the verb was, but you will not have a connector to join the two clauses. Because you need a connector to join two clauses, answers (A) and (C) are incorrect. Answer (B) is incorrect because there is no subject for the verb was. Answer (D) is the best answer because there is a subject, he, for the verb was, and there is a connector, since, to join the two clauses.
EXERCISE 7: Each of the following sentences contains more than one clause. Underline the subjects once and the verbs twice. Circle the connectors. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (1).
- Since the bank closes in less than an hour, the deposits need to be tallied immediately.
- Their backgrounds are thoroughly investigated before arc admitted to the organization.
- The citizens are becoming more and more incensed about traffic accidents whenever the accidents occur at that intersection.
- The ground had been prepared, the seedlings were carefully planted.
- We can start the conference now that all the participants have arrived.
- The building quite vulnerable to damage until the storm windows are installed.
- Once the address label for the package is typed, can he sent to the mail room.
- Because the recent change in work shifts was not posted, several workers missed their shifts.
- The mother is going to be quite upset with her son as long he misbehaves so much.
- Inasmuch as all the votes have not yet been counted the outcome of the election cannot be announced.
SKILL 8: USE OTHER ADVERB CONNECTORS CORRECTLY
Adverb clauses can express the ideas of time and cause, as you saw in Skill 7; adverb clauses can also express a number of other ideas, such as contrast, condition, manner, and place. Because these clauses are adverb clauses, they have the same structure as the time and cause clauses in Skill 7. Study the following examples:
- I will leave at 7:00 if I am ready.
- Although I was late, I managed to catch the train.
In each of these examples, there are two clauses that are correctly joined with adverb connectors. In the first sentence, the adverb condition connector if comes in the middle of the sentence. In the second sentence, the adverb contrast connector although comes at the beginning of the sentence, and a comma (,) is used in the middle of the sentence.
You will get a good grade on the exam provided —————
(C) to study
(D) you study
In this example you should quickly notice the adverb condition connector provided. This connector comes in the middle of the sentence; because it is a connector, it must be followed by a subject and a verb. The best answer to this question is answer (D), which contains the subject and verb you study.
EXERCISE 8: Each of the following sentences contains more than one clause. Underline the subjects once and the verbs twice. Circle the connectors. Then indicate if the sentences are correct. (C) or incorrect (I).
- It is impossible to enter that program if you lack experience as a teacher.
- The commandant left strict, orders about the passes, several soldiers left the post anyway.
- No one is admitted to the academy unless he or she the education requirements.
- While most students turned the assignment in on time, a few asked for an extension.
- I will take you wherever need to go to complete the registration procedures.
- I will wait here in the airport with you whether the plane leaves on time or not.
- Providing the envelope is postmarked by this Friday, your application still acceptable.
- As the nurse already explained, all visitors must leave the hospital room now.
- This exam will be more difficult than usual in that it covers two chapters instead of one.
- Though snow had been falling all day long, everyone got to the church on time for the wedding.
SKILL 13: USE REDUCED ADJECTIVE CLAUSES CORRECTLY
Adjective clauses can appear in a reduced forth. In the reduced form, the adjective clause connector and the be-verb that directly follow it are omitted.
- The woman
who is waving to us is the tour guide.
The letter which was written last week arrived today.
The pitcher that is on the table is full of iced tea.
Each of these sentences may be used in the complete form or in the reduced form. In the reduced form the connector who, which, or that is omitted along with the be verb is or was.
If there is no be-verb in the adjective clause, it is still possible to have a reduced form. When there is no he-verb in the adjective clause, the connector is omitted and the verb is changed into the -ing form.
I don’t understand the article which appears in today’s paper.
—-> I don’t understand the article appearing in today’s paper.
In this example there is no be-verb in the adjective clause which appears in today’s paper, so the connector which is omitted and the main verb appears is changed to the -ing form appearing.
It should be noted that not all adjective clauses can appear in a reduced form. An adjective clause can appear in a reduced form only if the adjective clause connector is followed directly by a verb. In other words, an adjective clause can only be reduced if the connector is also a subject.
The woman that I just met is the tour guide. (does not reduce)
The letter which you sent me arrived yesterday. (does not reduce)
In these two examples the adjective clauses cannot be reduced because the adjective clause connectors that and which are not directly followed by verbs; that is directly followed by the subject I, and which is directly followed by the subject you.
A final point to note is that some adjective clauses are set off from the rest of the sentence with commas, and these adjective clauses can also be reduced. In addition, when an adjective clause is set off with commas, the reduced adjective clause can appear at the front of the sentence.
The White House, which is located in Washington, is the home of the president.
The White House, located in Washington, is the home of the president.
Located in Washington, the White House is the home of the president.
ü The president, who is now preparing to give a speech, is meeting with his advisors.
ü The president, now preparing to give a speech, is meeting with his advisors.
ü Now preparing to give a speech, the president is meeting with his advisors.
In these two examples, the adjective clauses are set off from the rest of the sentence with commas, so each sentence can be structured in three different ways: (1.) with the complete clause, (2) with the reduced clause following the noun that it describes, and (3) with the reduced clause at the beginning of the sentence.
——– on several different television programs, the witness gave conflicting accounts of what had happened.
(A) He appeared
(B) Who appeared
In this example, answer (A) is incorrect because there are two clauses, He appeared… and the witness gave…, and there is no connector to join them. Answer (B) is incorrect because an adjective clause such as who appeared… cannot appear at the beginning of a. sentence (unless it is in a reduced form). Answer (C) is the correct answer because it is the reduced form of the clause who appeared, and this reduced form can appear at the front of the sentence. Answer (D) is not the reduced form of a verb; it is merely a verb in the present tense; a verb such as appears needs a subject and a connector to be correct.
EXERCISE 13: Each of the following sentences contains an adjective clause, in a complete or reduced form. Underline the adjective clauses. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).
We will have to return the merchandise purchased yesterday at the Broadway.
The children sat in the fancy restaurant found it difficult to behave.
Serving a term of four years, the mayor of the town will face reelection next year.
The brand new Cadillac, purchasing less than two weeks ago, was destroyed in the accident.
The fans who supporting their team always come out to the games in large numbers.
The suspect can be seen in the photographs were just released by the police.
The food placing on the picnic table attracted a large number of flies.
Impressed with everything she had heard about the course, Marie signed her children up for it.
The passengers in the airport waiting room, heard the announcement of the canceled flight, groaned audibly.
Dissatisfied with the service at the restaurant, the meal really was not enjoyable.
SKILL 14: USE REDUCED ADVERB CLAUSES CORRECTLY
Adverb clauses can also appear in a reduced form. In the reduced form, the adverb connector remains, but the subject and be verb are omitted.
Although he is rather unwell, the speaker will take part in the seminar.
When you are ready, you can begin your speech.
These two examples may be used in either the complete or reduced form. In the reduced form, the adverb connectors although and when remain; the subjects he and you as well as the be-verbs is and are are omitted.
If there is no be-verb in the adverb clause, it is still possible to have a reduced form. When there is no be-verb in the adverb clause, the subject is omitted and the main verb is changed into the –ing forrn.
Although he feels rather sick, the speaker will take part in the seminar.
è Although feeling rather sick, the speaker will take part in the seminar.
When you give your speech, you should speak Ioudly and distinctly.
è When giving your speech, you should speak Ioudly and distinctly.
In the first example the adverb clause although he feels rather sick does not include a be-verb; to reduce this clause, the subject he is omitted and the main verb feels is changed to feeling In the second example the adverb clause when you give your speech also does not include a he-verb; to reduce this clause, the subject you is omitted and the main verb give is changed to giving.
When —— , you are free to leave.
(A) the finished report
(B) finished with the report
(C) the report
(D) is the report finished
In this example you should notice the adverb connector when, and you should know that this time word could be followed by either a complete clause or a reduced clause. Answers (A) and (C) contain the subjects the finished report and the report and no verb, so these answers are incorrect. In answer (D) the subject and verb are inverted, and this is not a question, so answer (D) is incorrect. The correct answer is answer (B); this answer is the reduced form of the clause when you are finished with the report.
It should be noted that not all adverb clauses can appear in a reduced form, and a number of adverb clauses can only be reduced if the verb is in the passive form.
Once you submit your thesis, you will graduate. (active — does not reduce)
Once it is submitted, your thesis will be reviewed. (passive — does reduce)
In the first example, the adverb clause once you submit your thesis does not reduce because clauses introduced by once only reduce if the verb is passive, and the verb submit is active. In the second example, the adverb clause once it is submitted does reduce to once suinnitted because the clause is introduced by once and the verb is submitted is passive.
INVERT THE SUBJECT AND VERB WITH NEGATIVES
The subject and verb can also he inverted after certain negatives and related expressions. When negative expressions, such as no, not, or never; come at the beginning of a sentence, the subject and verb are inverted.
- Not once did I miss a question.
- Never has Mr. Jones taken a vacation.
- At no time can the woman talk on the telephone.
In the first example the negative expression not once causes the subject Ito come after the helping verb did.
In the second example the negative word never causes the subject Mr. Jones to come after the helping verb has.
In the last example the negative expression at no time causes the subject woman to come after the helping verb can.
Certain words in English, such as hardly, barely, scarcely, and only, act like negatives. If one of these words comes at the beginning of a sentence, the subject and verb are also inverted.
- Hardly ever does he take time off.
(This means that he almost never takes time off.)
- Only once did the manager issue overtime paychecks.
(This means that the manager almost never issued overtime paychecks.)
In the first example the “almost negative” expression hardly ever causes the subject he to come after the helping verb does.
In the second example the “almost negative” expression only once causes the subject manager to come after the helping verb did.
When a negative expression appears in front of a subject and verb in the middle of a sentence, the subject and verb are also inverted. This happens often with the negative words neither and nor.
- I do not want to go, and neither does Tom.
- The secretary is not attending the meeting, nor is her boss.
In the first example the negative neither causes the subject Tom to come after the helping verb does. In the second example the negative nor causes the subject boss to come after the verb is.
Only in extremely dangerous situations ——- stopped.
(A) will be the printing presses
(B) the printing presses will he
(C) that. the printing presses will be
(D) will the printing presses be
In this example you should notice that the sentence begins with the negative only, so an inverted subject and verb are needed. Answer. (D) contains a correctly inverted subject and verb, with the helping verb will, the subject printing presses, and the main verb be, so answer (D) is the best answer.