19.1 - Complex sentences

In these materials so far, long sentences have, in the main, been avoided, both in the examples and texts, as the aim has been to illustrate and practise the rules of Ukrainian grammar in as clear and user-friendly way as possible.

In written texts, however, you will meet fewer short sentences and more longer and complex ones. This happens for various reasons, relating to both content and style: to avoid repetition, to highlight the relationship between items in a list, to group together nouns or verbs and words which describe them, or to underline the cohesion of the various parts of an argument.

A more complex sentence may contain the following features: two or more main verbs; two or more coordinate clauses linked by commas and/or "and"; subordinate clauses, including relative clauses, reported speech and indirect questions; gerunds; a number of adjectives and past participles and lots more!

It is at this point that the careful application of grammar comes in handy, as attention to grammatical detail, including case and verb endings, will allow you to make an accurate reading of the text.

Given below is a (slightly adapted) definition of the word "constitution", taken from Political Science: A Dictionary of concepts and terms, compiled by Serhiy Riabov, Kyiv 2001. Like many dictionary definitions, it aims to encapsulate a complex concept in just one sentence (this one consists of 67 words!). The text has several levels of subordination, with each segment referring to a preceding noun or verb. It may appear difficult initially, but, once you have analysed each segment separately (with the help of Exercise 19.1A), it should become more easily comprehensible.

Конституція – це основний закон держави, сукупність правових норм, які відрізняються від звичайних законів тим, що формулюють і затверджують найзагальніші, основоположні принципи державного життя, утворення, оновлення і здійснення державної влади, закріплюють головні засади суспільного й державного устрою країни, існуючу в ній політичну систему, форму правління, правовий стан особи, принципи й порядок утворення та діяльності органів влади й управління, їх компетенцію, організацію та головні засади правосуддя, виборчої системи тощо.

Exercise 19.1A | Exercise 19.1B

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala