The Clause

A clause is a group of words that contains a complete subject and acomplete verb.

Example:

The Hawaiian shirt visually translates the life and heritage of Hawaii's people onto fabric.

Example:

For many people, the shirt says "Aloha" to islanders and visitors alike.

There are four main sentence types in the English language: Simple,Complex, Compound, and Compound-Complex.

The Simple Sentence

The Simple Sentence contains one main or independent clause that stands alone.

Example:

Ellery J. Chun was the first person to make and sell Hawaiian shirts in July of 1936.

It may be helpful to remember that the usual word order, or syntax, in English is subject-verb-object.

The Simple Sentence may consist of only one word.

Example:

Look.

Or it may be somewhat longer.

Example:

Look at the history embedded in the fibers of this shirt.

In the preceding examples, the verb is look. And since this sentence is written in command form, the subject is an understood you.

The Simple Sentence may have just one subject and just one verb.

Example:

Mr. Chun called his shirts Aloha Shirts.

The Simple Sentence may have just one subject and more than one verb.

Example:

He displayed and sold them for a dollar apiece in his King-Smith store.

The Simple Sentence may have more than one subject and just one verb.

Example:

At that time, both the Aloha Shirt and the Thousand Mile Shirt were worn by Islanders.

The Simple Sentence may also have more than one subject and more thanone verb.

Example:

Missionaries and pioneers wore the Thousand Mile Shirt on the Mainland and popularized it on the Islands because of its ability to withstand dirt and grime.

Items in a Series

There are 3 acceptable ways to join items in a series.

1. The coordinate connective and, which links equals, may be used to separate related objects in a series.

Example:

The shirts most frequently worn in the first half of this century included the Thousand Mile Shirt and the palaka work shirt and the Hawaiian or Aloha Shirt.

2. If the objects in the series are short, simple words or phrases, only commas, or pauses, and a connecting word are needed to separate them.

Example:

With its ability to withstand months of hard travel and work in the fields, the Thousand Mile Shirt was a favorite with Mainland immigrants, Chinese settlers, and native Hawaiians.

Note: There is always a comma before the last item in a series.

3. Although a series of related objects may also be spliced with only commas or pauses, this method is rarely used.

Example:

The more colorful Aloha Shirt was really wearable art displaying palm trees, beaches, volcanoes, legendary Hawaiian figures, recent historical events.

The same rules apply to a series of subject words or phrases.

1. The subject words may be separated by the coordinate and.

Example:

1. In the 1930s, visitors and servicemen and many Islanders were anxious to buy Aloha Shirts.

2. The subject words may be separated by a combination of commas (pauses)and the coordinate and.

Example:

Yellow for victory, red for valor, and white for holiness made for brilliant patterns of coloron these popular shirts.

3. Although the subject words may be separated only by commas or pauses, this method is rarely used.

Example:

Luxurious silks, cool cottons, synthetic rayon fabrics made Aloha Shirts the souvenirs of choice for many Island tourists.

The same rules also apply to a series of verb words or phrases.

1. The verb words may be separated by the coordinate and.

Example:The missionaries created garment styles for women and taught them how to sew and succeeded in clothing the naked Islanders.

2. The verb words may be separated by a combination of commas (pauses)and the coordinate and.

Example:Loose fitting gowns designed to fit the plumpest of women are simple in design, are comfortable to wear, are embellished with native flowers like orchids and hibiscus, and have brilliant patterns of color splashed over the entire surface of the cloth.

3. The verb words or phrases may also be separated only by commas or pauses, but this method is rarely used.

Example:The holuku, a loose-fitting garment with a yoke and a train, got its name from Islanders being taught to sew, holo (go), ku (stop).

Inverted Clauses

Caution: The words there or here (expletives), used at the beginningof a clause, will often invert the normal word order.

  • So when a clause begins with there or here, locate the verb first.

  • And then, look for the subject.

Examples:

Inverted Word Order:

By 1936, there was a cooperative agreement between Hawaii and the Mainland to manufacture and distribute Aloha Shirts on a factory-made basis.

Normal Word Order:

By 1936, a cooperative agreement between Hawaii and the Mainland to manufacture and distribute Aloha Shirts on a factory-made basis was there.

Inverted Word Order:

Here was an opportunity to have bolts of fabric designed in Hawaii, printed in California, and shipped back to Hawaii to be made into shirts.

Normal Word Order:

An opportunity was here to have bolts of fabric designed in Hawaii, printed in California, and shipped back to Hawaii to be made into shirts.

Note: With an inverted clause, if the verb consists of more than oneword, it will divide around the subject.

Example:There were patterns made with hidden messages in shirts designed by Virginia Thompson of California Handblock with words like "aloha" embedded in the tapa pattern motif.

When the clause is rewritten in normal word order, it looks like this.

Example:

Patterns were made there with hidden messages in shirts designed by Virginia Thompson of California Handblock with words like "aloha" embedded in the tapa pattern motif.

Note: Questions are often inverted clauses. And if the verb consists of more than one word, it will divide around the subject.

Example:

Have you ever wanted to wear an Aloha Shirt?

Analyzing a question is a two step process.

  • First, turn the question into a statement.

  • You do not add, subtract, or change the given words.

  • You simply rearrange them.

Example:

You have wanted to wear an Aloha Shirt ever.

Then, look for the subject and verb words. They will now be in normal word order.


Mike Hoffhines
Computer Instructor at Maui Community College wearing an Aloha Shirt.