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What are the subject and predicate of the first sentence of the Declaration of...

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tardis13 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM via web

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What are the subject and predicate of the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence? I struggle already with these two but the first sentence is so long and drawn out that I honestly have no idea. The passage is as follows:

"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bans which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 26, 2013 at 3:12 AM (Answer #1)

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In this first sentence of The Declaration of Independence, the subject is "respect," and the predicate is "requires." The main clause appears in the two lines above the very last line.

This sentence is a long complex sentence; that is, it has one main clause and five dependent clauses, one of which is an adverbial clause that modifies the verb, and the others are adjective clauses, modifying various nouns:

  • Main clause

 ...a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires... 

  • Adverbial clause (compound):

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bans, .... and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station....

  • Adjective clauses (4)

which have connected them with another

[to] which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them

...that they should declare the causes

...which impel them to the separation

Sources:

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