Students understanding the complexity of language
 

Chapter 05-04: Clauses I – Clause Type I

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chapter 5: clause type i

 
Clause Type I contains a main verb phrase that is intransitive (MVP-int)meaning  that it does not require a complement to follow it, like a nominal or  an adjectival phrase. In other words, all that is required for this clause is a  nominal subject and a main verb phrase. The easiest way to identify an  intransitive verb is if no other elements follow the main verb phrase, or if a prepositional phrase follows after the main verb phrase. This is a key marker to help you determine that the action of the main verb phrase is complete in the context of this clause.
 
Consider the following examples:
  1. she arrived
  2. he ran
  3. *he reported [something]
Clauses (1) and (2) are simple in structure, containing only a  subject and a main verb phrase. Clause (3) is similar; however, it seems  to be missing something. This is because clause (3) contains a transitive verb, which requires a direct object to complete its action (e.g. He reported [something]) – He reported the outcome. You can’t use the [something] test with the first one: *she arrived [something]. You can, however, use this test for the second one: he ran [something] – He ran a marathon. This means that it’s important to keep in mind that many main verbs can be both intransitive OR transitive, depending on the context. For example (using the clause from above):
  • He reported the facts, and that is what he reported.
 In the first clause, HE REPORTED THE FACTS, we have a clear direct object (THE FACTS), so we must analyze it as a Type V. In the final  clause, WHAT HE REPORTED, the main verb stands alone, so in this context it must be  analyzed as a Type I.
 
The tricky part with an intransitive MVP is determining that everything in the predicate is not required. This means, basically, that  in a Type I clause, you just need to make sure that no nominal (direct  object) is present. In most cases, if a nominal (direct object) is not  present, then everything else will be adverbial, and the clause cannot be a Type V. (We will discuss this in greater depth on Clause Type V page).
 
Despite the seeming simplicity of the above examples, language in its  natural environment is more complex—crawling with modifiers. The  following sentences are also Type I:
 
  1. He arrived before the storm.
  2. The reinforcements for the ambush finally arrived at base camp.
Remember, a clause is NOT a sentence. A sentence may have only one  clause, but your analysis, especially for this section, should focus only on the clauses, which means finding the Main Verb Phrases first and  foremost. For example, we could combine the two sentences above into  one sentence that contains two clauses:
 
He arrived before the storm, and the reinforcements for the ambush finally arrived at base camp.
 
Each clause is still a Type I. The underlined sections are adjectival and/or adverbial modifiers present in both sentences; however, they are  not required. They provide additional details, but they are not essential to meaning:
  1. He arrived.
  2. The reinforcements arrived.
Simplified, we find the underlying structure of a Type I in both  examples. NOTE: the only structure that adverbial and/or adverbial  phrases fill a mandatory slot is with the Type II clause, which we will look at next.
 
ONE FINAL NOTE: in most cases, any Main Verb Phrase that is a Passive Structure should be considered a Type I.