General Writing and Grammar Help/example of problem


I want to explain my problem by the following example. If I read a sentence of following form, I can't understand this types of sentence.

The committee were in there, had all special seats there, drinks ready right, and said right girls, you ready to start?

When I can't understand this types of sentence, I post my problems in this site. Then some peoples like you solve my problem by the following way.

The [committee] were in there, [they] had all [their] special seats there, [their] drinks ready right, and [they] said right girls, you ready to start?

At last, I realize this types of sentences.

Now I want to the links of websites/PDF files in which about this kind of complicated sentences have been discussed. Please help me.

The above sentence is a lousy one.  It is way too long!  (I hope you didn't write it, and I am insulting you!).


When I look at a confusing sentence and try to figure it out, I find what I call the "skeleton."  The skeleton is the subject and the verb or verbs that go with it.

What this sentence is:  one subject and 3 verbs that go with it.  Here they are:
Subject: =committee=
Verbs:  =were=, =had=,  =said=

The skeleton is:
=committee were had [and] said=

Here's how the subject (=committee=) works with all the verbs.
The committee were
[The committee] had [seats]
[The committee] said


The rest of the sentence is "decoration" that gives you more information.

Le'ts look at =drinks right ready=.  It is what is called a phrase.  It does not have a subject and verb.  

In this sentence, it is what is called an "adjective phrase."  It tells what is special about the committee's seats:  their drinks were there.  Someone had prepared the room carefully.


Another part of the complicate sentence you mentioned above that would have helped you sort out the confusion is that there is speaking.  The words that were spoken were not set off in quotation marks.  Also, capitalization is missing.  There are two sentences being spoken, and both should be capitalized.

and [they] said right girls, you ready to start?
and [they] said,  "Right, girls.  You ready to start?"

Knowing this would have helped you a lot!


As to websites, I do not know of any.  You might find something on a university's website in the files written by the English department faculty.  Generally, these are written for students in a specific class, but they are posted and anyone can read them.

I looked at Khan Academy, but there is nothing there on English, unfortunately.
There are lots of other cool things, however!


The best starting advice I can give you is to find the skeleton.  


Where are you finding these confusing sentences?  Are they:  
-from a teacher in your English class?  
-on an English class test?  
-on a college entrance test?  
-in a letter from a friend?  


I applaud your desire to improve your English, especially the difficult sentences!  Bravo!

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Martha Beth Lewis


I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.


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