Fronting and embedding

Looking for a quick and easy way to vary your sentence structuring to (a) improve your writing and (b) increase your marks?

Look no further!

First things first

You need to understand the difference between a main clause and a subordinate clause.

Complex sentences contain main clauses (which can be sentences by themselves) and subordinate clauses (which don’t make sense by themselves).

For example:

You should build a youth facility on the land because it will enhance opportunities for young people in the area.

Here, the main clause is:

You should build a youth facility on the land

This could be a sentence by itself, complete with a capital letter and a full stop.

The subordinate clause is:

because it will enhance opportunities for young people in the area

This can’t be a sentence by itself, as, if we popped a capital letter at the start and a full stop at the end, it would sound ‘unfinished’.

Activity 1: Try to identify the subordinate clauses in the sentences below. (You’ll find the answers after the picture.)

  1. When you leave, shut the door.
  2. If you want to kiss me, just ask.
  3. I wanted to kiss him because he is beautiful.
  4. I like children, although I couldn’t eat a whole one.

Answers to Activity 1:

  1. When you leave, shut the door.
  2. If you want to kiss me, just ask.
  3. I wanted to kiss him because he is beautiful.
  4. I like children, although I couldn’t eat a whole one.

Fronting is when we place a subordinate clause (or phrase) at the front of our sentence, like this:

Because it will enhance opportunities for young people in the area, you should build a youth facility on the land.

Activity 2: Rewrite these sentences so that the subordinate clause is fronted.

  1. I will continue to support the plan even though I disagree with many of your arguments.
  2. I was disappointed by the result of the action despite expecting it.
  3. The uniform policy at Lutterworth College is in desperate need of a revamp, although I can see why it was put in place.
  4. I was excited by the new menu until I saw it first-hand.

Answers are below the image…

Answers to Activity 2:

  1. Even though I disagree with many of your arguments, I will continue to support the plan.
  2. Despite expecting it, I was disappointed by the result of the action.
  3. Although I can see why it was put in place, the uniform policy at Lutterworth College is in desperate need of a revamp.
  4. Until I saw it first-hand, I was excited by the new menu.

 

When we embed a subordinate clause or phrase in the middle of a sentence using parenthetic commas, it’s another way of impressing the examiner.

The key thing is that your embedded clause/phrase should be removable without destroying the sentence.

For example:

Vegetarianism, despite people’s misconceptions about it, is a healthier way to live.

If we took out the subordinate clause, we’d have Vegetarianism is a healthier way to live, which makes sense without it.

Activity 3: Embedding subordinate clauses/phrases into main clauses.

Below, you’ll find a table of main clauses and subordinate clauses/phrases. See if you can turn them into full sentences with embedded clauses.

Embedding

Answers are below the next image…

Answers to Activity 3:

  1. My English lessons, even though they were difficult, were the most inspiring ones I had.
  2. I saw the new Avengers film, which cost more than $200 million to make, at the Showcase last night.
  3. My teacher, a diligent and committed man, kept an eye on my progress.
  4. The best album of all time, Girls Aloud’s ‘Tangled Up’, was released in 2007.

 

Think you’ve got it? Click here to take a cheeky little test that will email you your results.

 

 

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Year 11 English Language Mock Exam Examiners’ Report | English at Lutterworth College
  2. Pingback: Year 11 Mock Exams: Examiners’ Report | English at Lutterworth College

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