GB Software header image

The Coding Unit

The unit to be coded is the clause, whether independent or dependent. Subordinate or dependent clauses are ordinarily those related to the primary clauses by such words as "because," "since," "when," "which," "who," or "that." GB Software has found inaccurate clausing to be the primary cause of user problem reports.

Dependent clauses may be scored whether they are classified as adverbial, adjectival, or noun clauses. It should be noted that a phrase serving to make for a multiple predicate or a multiple subject or object is not considered as a series of separate clauses. Where such phrases contain different scorable ideas, the rule usually followed is to assign the score that indicates the greatest intensity. Instances where the subject or the predicate is omitted but is understood are considered as scorable clauses. On those occasions where one must make a decision as the whether there is a missing but understood (elliptical) subject or predicate or whether a phrase is part of a multiple subject or predicate, differences of opinion can certainly arise. Often, these controversies cannot be simply resolved by consultation with grammarians or English professors, for grammatical rules themselves may permit several alternative solutions to such issues. In any event, unpublished studies performed by GB Software indicate that slight differences in determining clauses arising from such ambiguities make a relatively small contribution to error variance in the overall score.

PCAD treats normal sentence-ending punctuation (the period, question mark, and exclamation mark) as end-of-clause. It also treats the forward slash character ("/") as an end-of-clause marker. To indicate clause boundaries which do not fall at the end of a sentence, insert a forward slash in the transcript. For example

I lived with my mother, father, and this brother / before we moved sort of in the country / where we had a large plot of land / that our house was on.

Because PCAD already recognizes sentence-ending punctuation, it is not necessary to add a forward slash at the end of a sentence.

Return to sample preparation page
Return to home page