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E.g.,

(1) You are getting yourselves into a very dangerous situation; get out of there at once.

The imperative following the first clause has an implied subject, so would this mean it is a coordinating clause? If the above sentence was coordinated with so, would that change the status of the clause?

(2) You should wear a suit, a clean shirt and a tie for the interview, and be punctual.

Is and be punctual a coordinating clause?

(3) Worcester is a very sought after porcelain, and is regarded as the finest of the period by many experts.

The following clause of this sentence contains a passive structure with an implied subject, so does this make it a full coordinating clause? How would the status of the sentence change if by many experts were omitted?

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1 Answer

All English clauses have subjects. However, the subjects of clauses are often deleted, by various rules, if they are predictable from context and from higher or parallel clauses.

In example (1), there are actually two sentences; semicolons are essentially periods. So the clauses are not really conjoined. The second sentence is an imperative, as noted, and Imperative Formation deletes second person subjects. Note that if you did connect them with and, the sentence would be ungrammatical

  • *You are getting yourselves into a very dangerous situation, and get out of there at once.

With true conjoined clauses, any material that's repeated in all clauses may be deleted from all but the first clause. Presuming a four-clause conjunction originally:

  • You should wear a suit for the interview and
    you should wear a clean shirt for the interview and
    you should wear a tie for the interview and
    you should be punctual for the interview.

There are several rules involved. One removes all but the last and; another (Conjunction Reduction) is what's at work in (2), where it applies three times -- once each to delete you should wear from the second and third clauses, leaving only the objects behind, and once to delete you should from the last clause, leaving only the verb phrase, which is different from the VP in the first 3 clauses.

(3) is another example of Conjunction Reduction, removing the reference to Worcester (probably it) in the second clause.

But it's not only subjects that can be deleted; the following are Conjunction-Reduced sentences:

  • Bill, Mike, and Harry worked on it all day.
  • Bill rinsed, Mike washed, and Harry dried all the dishes.

A related rule, called Gapping, removes verbs alone:

  • Bill ordered steak, Mike chicken, and Harry fish.
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I find the second deletion awkward (“You should wear ... and be punctual”), perhaps because of the incomplete parallelism, perhaps because “to the interview” is in an awkward place in the sentence. Shorter variants seem OK (“You should wear a suit and tie and be punctual”). –  Bradd Szonye May 3 '13 at 20:12
    
Right. If you're going to start with four clauses and try to make the point forcefully, you're going to leave out practically everything except the important points. Better not to start with so many clauses in a single sentence, but that's not a grammatical problem. –  John Lawler May 3 '13 at 20:23
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The answers were good, but unfortunately I set the sentences purely to exemplify my question: even though they were dealt with well, I was more interested in the very basic question -- are imperatives and passives regarded fully as coordinating clauses? –  RoDaSm May 5 '13 at 11:06
    
Imperatives can be coordinated with imperatives, interrogatives with interrogatives, and declaratives with declaratives. Passive clauses can be coordinated with active clauses, provided they're both declaratives or interrogatives (there aren't any passive imperatives). –  John Lawler May 5 '13 at 14:20
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