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Is there such a thing as nonessential clause, if so how do we apply it ?

Hello Rory042,A nonessential clause is a clause that is not essential to the meaning of a sentence. When the nonessential clause is taken out, the sentence still makes sense without it and there is no change in meaning.Here is an example:My grandfather, who is eighty, goes to the gym every day.Here you can remove the extra information, "who is eighty" without affecting the overall meaning of the sentence. This example uses a non defining relative clause.I hope this helps!
Indi R.
20 September 2015
Hello rory042A nonessential course, as Indi R. demonstrated, is written in between two commas (notice I used a nonessential clause in this sentence).In speaking, if it has just been added to add depth to the sentence, it would come after and before a slight pause. Hence the two commas either side of the clause when it is written.Kind regards
Gary A.
12 October 2015
Non essential clauses are often used in complex sentences, where extra information has been provided, but is not essential. For example, if you were looking at a picture of a boy looking out of a window, you might write: The boy, who has curly, brown hair, is looking out of the dirty window. The fact that he has curly, brown hair is not relevant and the sentence would make sense on its own, but it provides extra information for the reader. 
Helen W.
02 November 2015
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Complete the blanks with the Past Simple, Past Progressive, Past Perfect Simple or Past Perfect Progressive of the verbs in brackets.

1) Last year I .....(go) on an exciting safari holiday in Namibia with my husband. 2) I remember it ....(rain) continously for several days in Brussels before we ....(leave), so I couldn't wait to board the plane which ....(head) for sunnier climes. 3) Our safari holiday ....(be) unique in that, unlike many other safari holidays, the aim was not just to show a bunch of tourists some wild animals; while on holiday we would be volunteering at a conservation centre. 4) Our first night in the bush, while the biologists ....(entertain) everyone with tales, I ....(sit) back and ....(gaze) at the patterns made by the stars. 5) At one stage I ....(get) up to stretch when all of a sudden I ....(see) a huge creature nestled on my husband's shoulder; I ....(let) out an embarrassing squek of fear. 6) Apparently it was just a stick insect. Not like any stick insect I ....(ever/see); it was as big as my forearm. 7) The next day we ....(set) off early; our task was to make a note of any wildlife we saw. 8) While we .... (walk) through the thick forest, we ....(hear) birds and monkeys chattering in the trees. However after three hours, the novelty ....(wear) off, and I was exhausted. 9) And then I ....(see) it. A deer ....(stand) under a tree just a few metres away from me; I proudly ....(make) a note on my pad. 10) The next day, while we ....(travel) to a nearby village, we ....(spot) a herd of elephants crossing the road. 11) All too quickly our two weeks in Namibia ....(draw) to a close and we .... (find) ourselves back at home. 12) Altough we were a little sad, we both felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction as we ....(not only/visit) a beautiful part of the world, but we ....(also/make) our own small positive contribution.

What is an Active Verb?

What is an active and passive verb?

In order to understand active and passive verbs, let’s first define what a verb is. Take a look at the table below for the standard definition of a verb. action_verbs  

Definition Examples
Verb Expresses an action or state that usually relates two things To run, to walk, to swim, to laugh, to have

  As you can see, verbs can sometimes make up the bulk of our dialogue. In the English language, verb conjugation is pretty simple in comparison to other languages. Compare the conjugation of the verb ‘to run’ in English versus french.  

French English
I (je) cours run
You (tu) cours run
She/he (elle/il) court runs
We (nous) courons run
They (elles, ils) courent run

  When we talk about active and passive verbs, then, we’re not really talking too much about the conjugation of the verb. Instead, it is dependent on what the subject in the sentence is doing. Take a look at the definition of active verbs below.  

Definition Subject
Active verb When the subject of the verb is performing the action Who or what the sentence is about (performing action verbs)

  Now that we’ve covered an active verbs definition, let’s take a look at some active verbs examples. action_voice   Let’s take a look at passive verbs definition:  

Definition Subject
Passive verb When the subject is being put through the verb action Who or what is receiving the action of the verb

  Let’s take a look at some examples of passive verbs.  

How do you know if a verb is active or passive?

One easy way to spot the difference between an active and passive verb is to understand whether the speaker is taking an active or passive tone. Now that you understand what is and active and passive verb, let’s take a look at the definitions of an active and passive voice below.  

Definition Subject
Active voice Uses an active form of verbs Subject is performing an action
Passive voice Uses a passive form of verbs Subject is receiving the action from the verb

  As you can see, when a speaker is using passive verbs, they are employing a passive voice. Let’s take a look at an example of a passive voice. passive_voice_verbs Here, we can break down each section as an example to see why the voice is passive or active.  

Subject Passive verb
The time was marked by the clock The time Was marked
If the test was taken before twelve The test Was taken
The grade would be counted The grade Would be

  Let’s take a look at an example of an active voice. active_voice_verbs Again, breaking down each section gives us more clarity on why this voice is an active one.  

Subject Active verb
The clock marks the time The clock marks
If they take the test before twelve They take
The grade counts The grade counts


What is an active verb example?

Let’s break down an example of an active verb. Remember that an active verb is used when the subject of the sentence is performing the verb. Let’s take a look at some examples. Try your best to break down each example and decide whether or not they are using an active verb or passive verb.  

Sentence Active Verb?
Example 1 Your grandma made the pierogies? ?
Example 2 The tornado destroyed much of what was left. ?
Example 3 I wanted to go, but I was busy. ?

  Let’s take a look at the answers, as well as an explanation for why.  

Sentence Active Verb? Subject Verb Performed by Subject
Example 1 Your grandma made the pierogies? Yes Grandma made
Example 2 The tornado destroyed much of what was left. Yes Tornado destroyed
Example 3 I wanted to go, but I was busy. Yes I wanted, was

  When you use active verbs, you are using an active voice. Active voices are usually used in essays and in day-to-day life. active_voice  

What is a passive verb example?

Now that we’ve looked at some examples of active verbs, let’s turn to look at passive verb examples. Recall that when we have a passive verb, the subject of the sentence is having the verb performed onto them. Looking at the examples below, try to identify which are passive verbs.  

Sentence Active Verb?
Example 1 The pizza was burned by the oven. ?
Example 2 Trains are driven by train conductors. ?
Example 3 You were gone by evening. ?

  Let’s take a look at the answers, as well as an explanation for why.  

Sentence Active Verb? Subject Subject Receiving Verb’s Action Received from
Example 1 The pizza was burned by the oven. Yes Pizza Was burned Oven
Example 2 Trains are driven by train conductors. Yes Trains Are driven Train conductors
Example 3 You were gone by evening. No - - -

When you use passive verbs, you are using a passive voice. Passive voices shouldn’t be used in essays. They are, however, often used in journalism. Listen to the news and you should find plenty of examples of sentences with passive verbs. passive_verbs  

Why are passive verbs used?

There are many different reasons why passive verbs are used. When you’re writing in any academic setting, active verbs are usually encouraged because they produce an active voice. However, there are some instances where you might want to use passive verbs.   Take a look at some of the reasons why you might prefer to use passive verbs overactive verbs. Along with each reason, you will find an example.  

Reason Example How
Focus on subject who is receiving the action rather than who is doing the action Glass is made by melting down and chemically altering sand. We don’t focus here on who made the glass but how it is made.
Avoid stating irrelevant information. The car was designed to withstand lightning strikes. We don’t care who made the car but rather it’s features.
Avoid repeating information The impact of the study is discussed in the conclusion. The author is discussing it, so it is not worth repeating.
Taking on an academic/professional tone The sample was taken from a representative group. We don’t have to use personal pronouns (we, I, etc.)