Sentences contain clauses.
Simple sentences have one clause.
Compound sentences and complex sentences have two or more clauses.
Sentences can contain subjects and objects.
The subject in a sentence is generally the person or thing carrying out an action. The object in a sentence is involved in an action but does not carry it out, the object comes after the verb.
The boy climbed a tree.If you want to say more about the subject (the boy) or the object (the tree), you can add an adjective.
The young boy climbed a tall tree.
If you want to say more about how he climbed the tree you can use an adverb.
The young boy quickly climbed a tall tree.
The sentence becomes more interesting as it gives the reader or listener more information.
There are more things you can add to enrich your sentence.
Parts of a sentence
|Adjective||Describes things or people.|
|Adverb||Alters the meaning of the verb slightly|
|Article||a, an - indefinite articles |
the - definite articles
|Conjunction||Joins words or sentences together|
|Interjection||A short word showing emotion or feeling|
|Preposition||Relates one thing to another|
|Pronoun||used instead of a noun to avoid repetition|
|Proper noun (subject)||The actual names of people or places etc.|
|Verb||Action or doing word|
independent (main) clause.
Any independent clause can stand alone as a sentence. It has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought.
- Jill reads.
- The brown dog with the red collar always barks loudly.
- The dog barked and growled loudly.
"The sun was setting in the west and the moon was just rising."Each clause can stand alone as a sentence.
"The sun was setting in the west. The moon was just rising."Every clause is like a sentence with a subject and a verb. A coordinating conjunction goes in the middle of the sentence, it is the word that joins the two clauses together, the most common are (and, or, but)
- I walked to the shops, but my husband drove.
- I might watch the film, or I might visit my friends.
- My friend enjoyed the film, but she didn't like the actor.
"My mother likes dogs that don't bark."Dependent clauses can be nominal, adverbial or adjectival.
The VerbThe verb is the fundamental part of the sentence. The rest of the sentence, with the exception of the subject, depends very much on the verb. It is important to have a good knowledge of the forms used after each verb (verb patterns), for example: to tell [someone] TO DO [something]
Here we can see that the verb to tell is followed immediately by a person (the indirect object, explained later), an infinitive with 'to', and, possibly, an object for the verb you substitute for DO.
- "Beer and wine are my favourite drinks." The verb "are" is a linking (be) verb.
For example work:
- ACTION: David's working in the bank.
- STATE: David works in a bank.
- "Working at the computer all day made David's head ache."
- eat, sleep, run, jump, study, think, digest, shout, walk ....
Finding the Subject
- David works hard.
- Who "works hard"?=David does=the subject.
- Beer and wine are my favourite drinks.
- What "are my favourite drinks"? Beer and wine are=the subjects.
- Michael Schumaker drove the race car.
- "Michael Schumaker" is the subject; "drove the race car" is the predicate.
Objects come in two types, direct and indirect.
The direct object refers to a person or thing affected by the action of the verb.
- "He opened the door. "- here the door is the direct object as it is the thing being affected by the verb to open.
- " I gave him the book." - here him (he)is the indirect object as he is the beneficiary of the action.
Verbs that have an object are called transitive verbs e.g. eat, drive, give.
- David gave her a present.
- Xavier Nadu sings. - intransitive.
- Xavier Nadu sings pop songs. - transitive.
- I sometimes have trouble with adverbs.
- He spoke very quietly.
- I've read that book three times.
- She's gone to the bank.
The fourth is a little different, as in this case the adverbial (gone to the bank) is more or less demanded by the verb (has).
To remember the form of such verbs use your notebooks to write down the different forms.
- to go [somewhere]
- to put [something][somewhere]
There are various definitions of 'complement', which range from the very general (anything in the predicate except the verb, including the direct object and adverbs) to the much more restrictive one used here.
A complement is the part of the sentence that gives you more information about the subject (a subject complement) or the object (an object complement) of the sentence.
The complement to be used, if any, is dependent on the verb used in the sentence. Subject complements normally follow certain verbs.
- He is Spanish.
- She became an engineer.
- That man looks like John.
- They painted the house red.
- She called him an idiot!
- I saw her standing there.