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The brown layer—the most important in my opinion, disrupts the white/black elements and authoritatively mediates the picture, giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherit to earth.

I don't know why, but I can't decide whether "giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherit to earth" is independent and deserves a semi-colon. I have concluded that it is subordinate or if not, is setup from the first sentence and cannot stand alone.

opinions?
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Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

The brown layer—the most important in my opinion, disrupts the white/black elements and authoritatively mediates the picture, giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherent to earth.

I don't know why, but I can't decide whether "giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherit to earth" is independent and deserves a semi-colon. I have concluded that it is subordinate or if not, is setup from the first sentence and cannot stand alone.

You can't write a sentence that consists of giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherent to earth. Thus, it is not independent. In fact, it's not even a clause, it's merely a phrase. So, no semi-colon.

I'd suggest a few changes to the original sentence. First, I'd replace the comma after 'disrupts' by another dash. Then, I would replace the term white/black by words that explain and eliminate the slash. The term seems unclear to me. Does it mean white or black? white and black? some white and some black? some that are a combination of white and black, eg grey? etc. etc.

Best wishes, Clive
The phrase in question is not an independent clause; the comma there is fine. However, I would punctuate the sentence this way:

The brown layer--the most important in my opinion--disrupts the white/black elements and authoritatively mediates the picture, giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherent to earth.
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You can use semicolons to

1. sort out a complicated list.

e.g. Here are the semi-finalists: Chan Tai Ming, Class 5A; Agnes Leung, Class 4C; Julie Lai, Class 7A; and Mr. Davkett, Class 5B.

2. to separate clauses that relate to each other

e.g. My grandmother seldom goes to bed this early; she's afraid she'll miss out on something.

The semicolon allows the writer to imply a relationship between nicely balanced ideas without actually stating that relationship. (Instead of saying because my grandmother is afraid she'll miss out on something, we have implied the because.

I got #2 from http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/semicolon.htm
thanks a bunch. Obviously the sentence was taken out of a larger context so it might seem unclear.

I am very grateful I found this site - cheers.
CliveYou can't write a sentence that consists of giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherent to earth. Thus, it is not independent. In fact, it's not even a clause, it's merely a phrase. So, no semi-colon.

Clive,

I am not sure why you dismiss the group of words in blue as not being a clause.

According to the grammars I have reviewed, a group of words containing a verb is a clause. In fact this clause qualifies as a non-finite clause becasue its verb takes the form of a present participle.

What is your definition of a clause?

pine
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Hi,

The brown layer. . . disrupts the . . . elements and . . . mediates the picture, giving it that holistic energy of nature that is inherit to earth.

I am not sure why you dismiss the group of words in blue as not being a clause.

According to the grammars I have reviewed, a group of words containing a verb is a clause. In fact this clause qualifies as a non-finite clause because its verb takes the form of a present participle.

What is your definition of a clause?

I'm reluctant to argue about naming definitions, because I'm not really good at naming things in grammar. However, I'll stick my neck out. A clause consists of a subject + a predicate. There must be a verb in finite form, ie allowing for number and person. eg Mary, who sings, cooked dinner consists of two clauses. Singing, Mary cooked dinner is one clause.

By this definition, that holistic energy of nature that is inherit to earth is a clause. However, the introductory giving it is not, and that's why I said the whole set of words taken together is not a clause.

It appears that your definition allows the verb to be non-finite, and I can see on Google that this term is used.

How would you define a clause? Would you consider to be or not to be as a clause, or even as two clauses?

How would you define a phrase and distinguish it from a clause?

Best wishes, Clive
CliveHow would you define a clause? Would you consider to be or not to be as a clause, or even as two clauses?

How would you define a phrase and distinguish it from a clause?

Best wishes, Clive

Clive,

'to be or not to be' consists of two clauses connected by a conjuction, or.

A phrase is defined as a small group of words which forms a unit, either on its own or within a sentence. When a phrase contains a verb, it can also be called a clause.

By the way, in a clause, the subject is often absent (omitted), but implied.

Have you heard about 'a dangling participle'?
The reason I mention this is it covers two points I am trying to make.
For example, take a loook at this sentence: Walking back home yesterday, a tree nearly fell on my head.

1. 'Walking back home yesterday' is a subordidating participle clause. Absent thought the subject is, the implied one is a tree because the subject of the main clause is 'a tree'. (In a clause the subject is often implied and therefore it is not an essential element of a clause.)
2. But the subject should have been 'I' and that is why it is called a dangling (hanging) participle.

As I was walking back home yesterday, a tree nearly fell on my head.
The participle clause can be changed to an adverbial clause with 'as'.

The point I am trying to make is that although grammar may not be important to you, a lot of ESL students learn and cherish it. The original poster believed it to be a clause, but you, as a teacher, dismissed it as not being a clause. Imagine for a moment how confused the poster would have been.

pine

Hi Pinenut,

Thanks for the response. I seem to have given you the impression that grammar is not important to me. That certainly was not my intention. My interest in grammar is why I participate in this forum and try to help people. I do the best I can to clarify things rather than to spread confusion.

I don't think we are disagreeing over how to put words together to make satisfactory English. We are debating the definition of gramatical terms. I'm sure such things evolve and change to some extent over time, and to reflect trends in linguistic thinking, so it's quite possible that my approach might be characterized as being more traditional.

I certainly find it hard to consider seriously that 'to be or not to be' consists of two clauses.

I find that the students who enter my class after several years of learning English have the same general idea about clauses as I do, and together we can build on this foundation to enhance their English. In other words, it works for me and for my class and seems to enable us to produce a satisfactory end-product. It seems to me that's the final test, is it not?

Best wishes, Clive
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