CLAUSES AND PHRASES, IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS AND THEIR MEANINGS

By Samuel Obeng

8/10/2009 8:07:08 PM -

CLAUSES \ PHRASES
A clause is a group of words that include a subject, and a verb and forms part of a sentence. The presence of a subject or doer of an action and a verb and understanding is what make the construction a clause. Not all clauses can be said to be a sentence.

Examples (1) They often go to Italy.
I can not talk
There is a fire outbreak
The room is not meant for students
In the examples above, They, I and room in example 1, 2 and 4 are subjects. While go can, talk, is in example 3 and 4 are verbs both lexical and auxiliary.

Clauses are divided into two major groups namely
Main (OR) independent clauses
Dependent OR subordinate clauses
Main \ Independent Clauses
These types of clauses are described as independent because they stand on their own to make a meaning. They do not need help from any other clause(s) to make a meaning. Clauses are said to be main because they perform the most significant role in any construction. Without them, compound and complex sentences are always meaningless. Independent or main clauses are also called simple sentences. Independent clauses always express an idea that could easily be understood.

Examples
The celebration is over.
Accra is in the Greater Accra region.
The food is hot.
Mamunatu is a Muslim.
I am your father.
Etc
All the examples above are simple sentences which could be described as main or independent clauses.

Dependent \ Subordinate Clauses
Dependent or subordinate clauses not behave like independent or main clauses. Dependent clauses always need help or assistance from the main or independent clauses to make a meaning. They can not stand on their own for a meaning. Without the main or independent clause, the subordinate clause will remain meaningless. Dependent clauses are always start with words like though, although, because, even though, while, etc.

Examples
The students did not pass the examination because they did not learn.

Inspite of the bad nature of the field, our team became victorious.

Although enough preparation were made for the party, people did not come.

I couldn't talk though I was given the opportunity.

The car looks new but it can not run.
The man often goes to abroad because he has relatives there.

From the above examples we can rule that none of the underlined expressions can stand on its own and make a meaning unless it is assisted by the main clause. Base on this, we conclude that the above underlined expressions are all dependable clauses.

In addition, subordinate and main clauses do not have specific places they occupy in sentences.

They interchange with each other depending on the structure of the sentence in question. That is, independent clauses can be at the beginning of a sentence, the middle or at the sentence and vice versa.

Clauses apart from being divided into main and subordinate or independent or dependent could be classified into another three categories.

adjective clauses
Adverbial clauses
Noun clauses
Adjectival Clauses
These types of clauses have adjective(s) in them to qualify the nouns in them. The adjective(s) add colour and give vivid description to the noun. That however does not mean that without the adjective(s) the statement becomes meaningless. Even in the absence of clause, a clause remains the same.

Examples
The flamboyant little boy failed the examination.
The tick, tall, long bearded man died though he is young.

The ugly man dislike such things.
The slim smart looking lady is my mother's friend.
The blue black sporting can belong to my dad.
The brown fat intelligent student did not do well as expected.

From the examples given above we can identify adjective(s) in all the sentence qualifying the nouns. The presence of adjective(s) makes the clauses adjectival.

Adverbial Clauses
These clauses have adverbs in them to modify and also indicate time, place, manner, cause, purpose, condition, result, reason or contrast.

Examples
These orders can be filled as soon as stock is received (Adverb of time)

I was advised to live where the climate is dry.(Adverb of place)

She worked as though her life depends on it. (Adverb of manner.)

Please write me at once if you have any suggestions. (Adverb of condition)

Because our plant is closed in August, we cannot fill your order now.(Adverb of reason)

Noun Clauses
Noun clauses are dependent clauses that function as noun to the main clause. These noun clauses can serve as subject or object depending on the structure of the sentence.

Example=
Whether the proposal will be accepted remains to be seen. (Noun clause as subject)

They thought that the plan was a failure. (Noun clause object)

Then he said “who gave you that information?”
Phrases
These are group of two or more words without a subject and a predicate, used as a noun, an adjective, preposition or adverbs.

Unlike clauses, phrases do not carry any meaning to the listener.

Phrases can be divided into the following groups
Adjectival phrases
Adverbial phrases
Prepositional phrases
Noun phrases
Adjectival Phrases
These types of phrases qualify the noun(s) that come before or comes after them.

Examples
The is hope for the future because of the new dawn
Terry couldn't enlist into the army: she is too weak

New years are full of hopes
The agile, rimble, cat belongs to Mr. Amankwa.
The time to act is now!
All the above underlined examples contain adjective(s) in them qualifying the nouns they are moving with.

Adverbial Phrases
Just like adjectives, adverbs modify the verbs before or after them.

Examples
Let us plan to meet after lunch.
Let us meet as soon as possible.
The student did his home work carefully
I like reading always.
,
It rained that is why I did not come.
Prepositional Phrases
Examples
I stay around, the man told his manager.
From Boston to Tulsa is about 150 miles.
You handled Mr. Yamson's petition with great care.
Try to do the work within the shortest possible time.

No one is expected to come in apart from the invited guests.

Where is she at?
The underlined expressions prepositional phrases shoe the relationship between a noun or pronoun and some other words in the sentences.

Noun Phrases
These types of function as nouns to sentences.
Example
Jenice resigned to open her own business.
I like running my own business.
Before 9: Is the best time to call me.
Togo, the Gambia Nigeria Ghana and Benin are West African countries.

Some Idiomatic Expressions and Their Meanings
Second to none - the best ever
To outline a usefulness - to become useless or to be out of use \ outmoded.

To be in the seventh heaven - to be happy \ excited.

To have no backbone\spine - to have no courage\encouragement.

To breed(ing) bad blood - there is hostility \ chaos \ anarchy \ confusion \ misunderstanding.

To have a cat and dog relationship - always quarrelling \ having unhealthy relationship.

Leave no stone unturned - to do every thing possible.

To have ones heart in his mouth - to be terribly terrified \be afraid.

To arm to the teeth - to be fully prepared.
To take a cue from something - to learn a lesson.
To be greenhorn - to be a novice\ strange to a place\inexperienced.

In a nut shell - finally\in conclusion to sign off\briefly.

To have a hidden agenda - to have a secret motive a hidden\idea.

To speak over the heads of the new converts. - to do\say something that others do not understand.

Behind closed doors - to do \ say something in private.

To live in hot waters - to be in difficulty\trouble\problem.

To be left in the lurch - to be without any assistance\help from others.

To put one's foot down. - to be firm.
To live on the breed line - to live poorly \ live in poverty.

To bumped into someone - to meet someone unexpectedly\accidentally.

To pay one in his own coins - to retaliate.
To give in - to accept defeat\to have been defeated.

To draw a wedge between two people - to create confusion\ misunderstanding\tension.

To walk at a snail's pace - To move \ behave slowly\sluggishly.

To put up with - to tolerate\cope with\accommodate something.

To write your opponent off - to condemn\look mean upon.

To take one for a ride - to mislead \ deceive.
To show a clean pair of heels or feet - to swerve\dodge.

To throw in the towel\sponge\card - to accept defeat\give in.

To smell a rat - to be suspicious.
To drag one's name in the mine\mud - to tannish one's image.

To be taken aback - to reflect deeply.
To have a gargantuan appetite - to have a great\strong appetite\desire for something.

To have a clear coast - to over come a danger\difficulty.

Being a dog in the manger - preventing others from doing what one\can not do.

To give the devil his due - give credit to one who deserves it.

To join the grave multitude - to die\death.
To see someone in camera - to see one privately.
Necodemous departure - leaving secretly.
To defiling the lion in his own den - to challenge a fearful opponent openly.

Pouring oil on troubled waters - to find a solution to a problem\ to maintain peace.

To pour oil into fire - to make things \ problems worse \ to aggravate anger.

To pay through one's nose - to pay for an offense express uely\deanly.

To go to the black\white house - to go to natures call\ toilet.

To keep eagle eye on something - to watch something closely \ carefully.

To bite the dust - to accept defeat.
To have a gentleman agreement - to have mutual respect.

To squeeze water out of stone - to do everything possible to succeed.

To have something in written in water(s) - something that is easily forgotten.

To be a bad egg - to be a worthless person.
Leaving the sleeping dog to lie - not to re echo - revisit past misunderstanding\ problems.

To turn a table on someone - to trick or deceive.
Come to the force - to become prominent\ famous.
To take liberties with something - to be mindful \ cautious \ careful with something.

To have a Herculean task - to have difficulties.
To be on the go - to be always busy.
To have a storm in a tea cup - to have confusion about some thing less important \ trivial.

To talk nineteen to the dozen - to talk unnecessarily.

To pull oneself together - to control oneself \ maintaining one's composure.

To keep an arm's length - to avoid \ keep off something.

To show one's true colours - to bring to light one's real lifestyle \ character.

To live above board - to be honest \ sincere.
To pick holes with - to find fault with.
To kill the goose that laid the golden eggs - to misuse the source of livelihood example seed money for a business.

To be an eye servant - to work under supervision.
To throw cold water on a plan - to discourage.
To square a circle. Saying \ making promises\ comments that can not be fulfilled.

To have a spantan life - having \ leading a disciplined life.

To lost one's face - to be ashamed.
To be a black sheep - one who brings disgrace to others.

To take the chair - to preside over a meeting.
A nine days' wonder - something that will not last.

To speak to one in the language he\she understands - to give a punishment or sanction that merits an offence.

To call a spade by its name - to be frank with an issue \ say exactly what something \ an issue is.

To flash out - to reveal \ expose \ bring to light.

To take something with a pinch of salt - to doubt \ disbelieve \ a statement of uncertainty.

To laugh at the wrong side of one's mouth - to regret an action that was carried out \ done.

.
Poking your nose into people's affairs. - to interrupt somebody.

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