Date: Thu, 17 Aug 1995 11:12:14 -0500

From: "Jeffrey H. Allen AXIS" jhaaxis[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CAT.COM.LOCAL

Subject: help on linguistic terminology

Just wondering if anyone out there can help me invent some layman's

terminology for a couple of linguistics terms. I have to teach grammar

courses to engineering technical writers who must learn the grammatical

concepts that we are teaching. Sometimes I have been able to create

some simplified termnology (for example: object verbs, no-object verbs,

double object verbs) for explaining the concept of transitivity.

I am a little stuck on what to do about the terms "complement" and

"relative clause".

First, we have the case of Infinitival Complements, which can be

simplified in terminology to "to + V(erb) Complements" , but I would

still like to find something more simplified for my writer who are not

English-majors; they are mechanics. For some Infinitival Comps, see

the following examples:

1. You need to decrease your speed.

2. The mechanic advises you to perform the following repairs.

Secondly, for S(entence) Complements, we have the following examples:

3. The mechanic decided that two gauges were neeeded.

4. The display will indicate whether a component is defective.

3 and 4 are S Comps attached to the Verb. However, there are other

kinds of S Comps as in the following:

5. The fact that no definite failure has occurred is not important.

5 is the case of an S Comp that attaches to a Noun.

There are also S Comps that attach to an adjective as in:

6. It is probable that oil will stick to the chain.

It is possible to simplify S Comps with the terms "that S

Complements" and "whether S Complements", but I am sure that these

technical writers are going to be intimidated by the use of the term

"Complement" in general. Does anyone have any suggestions about what

to call it for these two cases?

Thirdly, this brings me to the question of "Relative Clauses". They

are not really "relative" to anything, but I need to find another

simplified term for them. Examples include:

7. Parts that are shipped from the factory are considered to be free

from defects.

8. Removal all hazardous materials which can accumulate on the machine.

The term "relative clause" will again intimidate my writers. Any


Lastly, I guess this makes me consider how to simplify the word

"clause" in general, as compared to "phrase" and "sentence" that I can

keep. A sentence can be a clause, but not vice versa. How would you

label "clause" in layman's terms?

Many thanks in advance if you can come up with some ideas.

Jeff Allen

reply to: allenjh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] OR jhallen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]