The conjugated verb performs the most crucial role in English: It forms the sentence. Without the conjugated verb, we would have no complete grammatical sentences.
When conjugated, the verb forms two kinds of clauses. The independent clause can stand alone as a complete sentence. Ordinarily, it starts with a capital letter and ends with a period or other terminal punctuation. The independent clause, with its basic three-part message, is our starting point when we begin to write.
The dependent clause cannot exist by itself. It must attach itself to an independent clause. Consider these dependent clauses, with the conjugated verbs in bold (one clause has a clause within a clause):
that try men’s souls
that our flag was still there
and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth
which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced (two clauses: who fought and which they have advanced)
None of those clauses can stand on its own. Instead, each needs an independent clause as a prop. In the eBook Developing a Powerful Writing Style,we’ll learn what functions dependent clauses can serve in our sentences. There we’ll see that they can act as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
So that’s the conjugated verb. It forms independent clauses (which have all the attributes of complete sentences) and dependent clauses (which do not). Now let’s look at the other forms and functions of verbs.
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