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Do complex sentences have to use strictly "awwubus"?

I was recently told by my teacher that because of the word "due to" in the phrase "Due to the war, everyone in this scout troop has lost at least one parent," the phrase was not complex, since "due to" isn't among the words in the "awwubus" acronym. Could someone please elaborate a little bit further? As far as I can tell, there is still both a dependent and independent clause, and "due to" is a synonym for "because," which is an awwubus word.

Thanks for your time!

Answers

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭

    @esiao306, I think you need to be mopre careful with the terms PHRASE and CLAUSE.

    • Due to the war is a phrase.
      There is no complexity to it. It's a SIMPLE phrase.
      Modern grammar books would term it a PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE.

    • Due to the war, everyone in this scout troop has lost at least one parent is a sentence.

    • Everyone has lost a parent is a clause.
      It remains a clause when you add information:
      EveryoneEveryone in this scout troop_
      _a parent
      at least one parent

    Is it any different when the information added is Due to the war?
    We don't think so when we add one word such as Recently.
    And I don't think anything changes if we add a phrase such as in 1940.
    You might argue that due to the war is a more complicated idea than in 1940, but grammatically they're identical. Each is a PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE.
    And there's another PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE in the sentence: in this scout group/
    I don't think anybody would consider calling this a CLAUSE.

    So what is a CLAUSE?
    There's a traditional answer and a modern answer.

    1. By traditional definition, a CLAUSE consists of

      • a SUBJECT
      • a FINITE VERB
      • any necessary element demanded by the grammar of the verb
      • possibly some other elements giving extra information
        Your example is composed of

      • everyone in this scout group — SUBJECT

      • has lost — FINITE VERB
      • at least one a parent — DIRECT OBJECT, which is necessary after the verb lose
      • due to the war — extra information
    2. Modern grammars describe a clause like this a FINITE CLAUSE. But a very similar structure is seen in what they call NON-FINITE CLAUSES. For example

      • I remember everyone in this scout group losing at least one parent due to the war.
      • We expect everyone in this scout group to lose at least one parent due to the war.
      • We saw everyone in this scout group lose at least one parent due to the war.
        These are termed according to the verb form: -ing clause; to infinitive clause; bare infinitive clause.

    There are differences.
    NON-FINITE CLAUSES are possible without a SUBJECT
    * Many of us cannot forget losing at least one parent due to the war.
    * We expect to lose at least one parent due to the war.
    Only FINITE CLAUSE — but not all FINITE CLAUSES — may stand as independent SENTENCES.

    So what is an independent sentence?
    I suspect that your awwubus learning device is supposed to answer this.

    I don't know of any grammar book that talks of dependent and independent clauses.
    But there's a long tradition of dividing clause within a sentence into MAIN and SUBORDINATE.
    These terms are used when there are two or more FINITE CLAUSES in the sentence. For example:
    Because fighting in the war was especially severe in this region (SUBORDINATE CLAUSE),
    everyone in this scout troop has lost at least one parent (MAIN CLAUSE).
    Now, it's true that a SUBORDINATE CLAUSE is generally introduced by a CONJUNCTION. So I guess that you've been taught to learn a list of CONJUNCTIONS using awwubus to jog your memory.

    You say

    because ... is an awwubus word

    But because is not always a CONJUNCTION.
    Very often it combines with of to form a PREPOSITION.
    In exactly the same way, due combines with to to form a PREPOSITION.

    Actually, the words which introduce SUBORDINATE CLAUSES should be called SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS. There are other CONJUNCTIONS such as and, but, so.
    These can introduce clauses which can stand as independent sentences — though some dislike the style. For example

    • And everyone in this scout group has lost at least one parent.
    • But everyone in this scout group has lost at least one parent.
    • So everyone in this scout group has lost at least one parent.

    It is true that a clause beginning with a SUBORDINATE CLAUSE cannot be an independent sentence.

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