Clauses, Phrases & Sentence Types {Coursera course}

It is week 3&4 on the Coursera writing course. I went from excited to annoyed to apathetic towards the class in this short time, and, unfortunately, it all stems from the fact that I don’t work on their schedule. When they finally release the week’s lessons, it’s midway through my day, thus I’m at work. For some odd reason, it stymied my enthusiasm for the class itself. Or did it?

The whole point of taking this class is because it was a back-to-basics of the English language. It was supposed to refresh my memory of the minute parts of the sentence, how they are used, and remind me of how to use them effectively. It has been this. I don’t know if I’ve been taking it seriously, though. After all, by the time I get to sit down and take this class, it’s usually early on Tuesday morning before work. My brain isn’t on sentence structure, but rather client relationships and my magnificent to do list for the week.

Alas, this week is clauses and sentence types. I know that refresher courses of using subject, verbs, adjectives and adverbs were before this. I even remember that articles a, an, and the are adjectives. I recall that adverbs do much more than just modify the verb, but also modify the adjectives. So, why do I feel like the magic of the written word and the potential of English is lost while heading into forming proper clauses? I don’t rightly know. I do hope that since we are at clauses the boring part is over and I will once again feel the potential excitement for the written word. With that, on to this week’s assignments.

Adjective and adverbial clauses

In your writing journal, you will begin to practice building sentences with adjective and adverbial clauses. For this journal entry, discuss some of the advantages of the place where you live. Using the lists associated with each of these types of clauses, write at least three (3) sentences including adjective clauses and three (3) sentences including adverbial clauses. Underline the adjective and adverbial clauses. Consider their function in both as a modifier and an aspect of your writing style.

OK…. I think the hardest part about this is going to find six advantages of where I live. Where I live is in a relatively poor location. We choose the place because it’s affordable and I could have a small garden, not because it looks good or even because it’s the safest place to be. There are a lot of negatives thanks to the way the management cares for the place. However, here are the first three advantages to living here that I can think of. (Thankfully as I got going, I could think of a few more, like we can get Internet, close to the library, close to an urgent care, close to the post office, etc.)

  1. It’s relatively quiet during bedtime hours.
  2. There are good neighbours around.
  3. I can have a garden.
  4. It is within walking distance to a library.
  5. Three grocery stores are within walking distance.
  6. The Monon Trail is also very close by.

OK, time to turn those into proper sentences according to the demands of the assignment. Adjective clauses will be in red, adverbial clauses will be in blue.

  1. Despite being in a city, it’s relatively quiet during bedtime hours.
  2. The neighbours, who are all poor, are very kind and considerate.
  3. I finally have a small garden which I have always wanted.
  4. The library which is admittedly small and poorly stocked is also nearby.
  5. I can choose to one of three grocery stores if the mood strikes me.
  6. When I want to get anywhere, I can easily take the well maintained Monon Trail.

Noun and verb phrase

In your journal, discuss any disadvantages to the place where you live and continue your sentence practice with noun and verb phrases. Write at least one of each of the noun phrases discussed in the unit (prepositional phrase, absolute phrase, and appositive phrase) and at least two of each of the verb phrases (infinitive phrase and participial phrase). You will, therefore, write at least seven sentences for this journal activity. As in the first assignment, underline the phrase in each sentence and consider its function in both as a modifier and an aspect of your writing style.

Now that I’ve thought of all the positives, the disadvantages are harder to come by. 🙂 I suppose that’s a good thing, though, as the silver lining is doing it’s job to distract from the bad things. Nevertheless, here are the first seven disadvantages that I came up with earlier. (It’s probably a shame that I can come up with about 10 others off the cuff… )

  1. The buildings are old and falling apart.
  2. There is an infestation of bedbugs.
  3. There are no jobs hiring within the immediate vicinity.
  4. We have crime in our neighbourhood.
  5. It is very, very loud in the afternoons.
  6. The laundry room is filthy.
  7. There are many traffic accidents nearby and in the complex.

Noun phrases will be in green, verb phrases will be in orange. I will also put in parenthesis at the end of the sentence what type of phrase it is.

  1. Because the buildings are old, they are rapidly falling apart and are expensive to repair. (prep)
  2. Many foreigners and poor in the community, being untrained and uneducated, perpetuate the bedbug infestation. (absolute)
  3. Minor jobs, which are hard to come by, cannot be found within the immediate vicinity. (appositive)
  4. The plan to lower the crime right here in our neighbourhood is to have a Neighbourhood Crime Watch. (infinitive)
  5. To hear the neighbourhood in the afternoon when the children come home is a very loud experience. (infinitive)
  6. Having hundreds of people using just one tiny laundry room makes it filthy by early afternoon. (participial)
  7. The neighbourhood, being a loci for foreigners and careless drivers, results in many traffic accidents daily. (participial)

Admittedly, those sentences could have been done a lot better. Looking at them I realise how awful they can be constructed in a hurry, and how sometimes they just don’t belong. It’s really a good thing that this is just practise and I don’t have to turn it in for anything professionally. Some of these, while they meet the requirements, are just horribly constructed. (Look, an adjective clause!) With that, I’m going to stop punishing you and go take the quiz.