Unit 5: Function Labels: 5.4 Sentence and Clause
So far we have been using the terms sentence and clause rather loosely. As we saw in 4.2., and as the diagram below illustrates, the sentence is the highest unit in the rank scale. A sentence is composed of clauses, which are in turn composed of phrases, which are composed of words, which are composed of morphemes. Just as a phrase consists of one or more words, so a sentence consists of one or more clauses.
(ph) (ph) (ph)
wo wo wo wo wo
mo- mo- mo- mo- mo- mo-
This relationship can also be expressed by what are called TREE DIAGRAMS.This relationship can also be expressed by what are called TREE DIAGRAMS.
Diagrams A and B show the structure of two sentences in terms of the rank scale. Each of the labelled points on the diagram is called a NODE. Diagrams C and D show the same sentences but are more informative because each node has a specific label.
In diagrams B and D, the nodes BRANCH at certain points, where the unit being described consists of two or more elements. Thus 'He was shouting' consists of two phrases, a NP and a VP. The VP in turn consists of two parts, an auxiliary (a) and a main verb (V). (The word 'shouting' consists of two morphemes but this level is often omitted in grammatical analysis.)
Clauses are distinguished by [SQUARE BRACKETS]. The key characteristic of a clause is that it must contain a predicator. It follows from this that a grammatically complete sentence must also contain a predicator.
Sentences 1-3 above each contain one predicator. They are therefore one-clause or SIMPLE sentences.
Many sentences, of course, contain more than one clause, like (4) below, which is a COMPOUND sentence containing three clauses. We shall deal with these in Unit 7.
(a dreadful noise on the bagpipes)