Adverbial and adjectival phrases

While simple sentences are important in grammatical analysis facilitating explanation and development of other sentence structures, their usage and study is critical in Stages 2 onwards due to the expanding lexical density and the unpacking of complex ideas required in nonfiction texts.

Nonfiction texts studied at this level may have simple sentences, with very complex ideas, that are often several lines long. The analysis and therefore improvement of writing complex and compound sentences and how language is structured in quality texts can be studied in terms of simple sentences (or in terms of independent clauses). Commands and questions are also explained through changes to simple sentences.

A basic simple sentence consists of a main clause (an independent clause). It has one verb and a subject, and it may have an object that expresses a complete thought. Sophisticated Structures include – Extended simple sentences, for example ‘Like all living things, animals have personalities too.’

Simple sentences may also contain noun groups and verb groups that contain embedded prepositional, adverbial and adjectival phrases. A simple sentence can be short, with uncomplicated ideas – but a simple sentence can be long with complicated ideas. Simple sentences with complex ideas are widely used in the secondary context. It is critical to unpack these sentences in a variety of ways.

Simple sentences

While a simple sentence conveys information quickly, too many simple sentences – without complex ideas, can make the reading / writing appear choppy and disconnected. Writers with advanced linguistics use a variety of sentence structures – including simple sentences.

Fiction authors will make use of simple sentences, often reducing the complexity of ideas, to allow readers to move quickly through text and are frequently used when moving towards the action / climax of the piece. At this point complex or compound sentences could detract from the tension, conflict and / or action.

Activity 1: adverbials

Simple sentences have only one verb or verb group. Students add adverbial phrases to add meaning to the verb.

In small groups students generate a list of simple sentences which include subject verb object. These can be written on large labels.

Teacher may need to demonstrate - see sentences notebook

Simple sentences are unpacked with examples and opportunities for students to develop their own examples.

Sentences are shared using targeted metalanguage. For example:

  • The noun group and subject of my sentence is …
  • The verb I have used is …
  • The object or noun group of my sentence is …

Students still in groups then generate phrases (groups of words without a verb) which answer the following questions:

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