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Parts of a Sentence

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Andrew Olson

on 27 January 2017

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Transcript of Parts of a Sentence

Parts of a Sentence:
Subject Example
Ex: Mr. O taught the class about subjects.

Q: Who or what is this sentence about?
A: It could be about Mr. O, or the class, or subjects, right?

Q: Ok, then ask: Who or what is doing something in the sentence?
A: Mr. O is the only person or thing doing something.

Mr. O is the subject!
The subject tells us who or what the sentence is about. It has a special relationship with the predicate, as it identifies the performer or receiver of the predicate.

Many times the subject is a person, place, or thing.

To find the subject of a sentence, ask yourself these two questions:

1) Who or what is this sentence about?

2) Who or what is doing something in this sentence?
Your Turn: Find the Subject
Remember to ask yourself the two questions if you're unsure!

1) Eric tripped on his shoelace.

2) The brakes on my truck grind.

3) Test anxiety is common among students.

Answers: 1) Eric 2) brakes 3) test anxiety
Predicates (Verbs)
The predicate (verb) tells us what the subject does, what happens to it, or what is said about it. In short, the predicate explains what the sentence says about the subject.

Some verbs "link" the subject to an idea or something that is said about the subject.

The predicate can be found by asking: What does the sentence say about the subject?

You can also try to put a pronoun in front of the verb. If it is a verb, the sentence should still make sense. However, this test may not work with linking verbs.

Predicate Example
Eric tripped on his shoelace.

Q: What does the sentence say about Eric (the subject)?
A: He tripped.

Q: If you put a pronoun (I, you, he, she, it, they) in front of tripped does it make sense?
A: (I) tripped on his shoelace. - Yes!

Tripped is the predicate.
Predicate Example 2
Test anxiety is common among students.

Q: What is this sentence about? A: anxiety (the subject)

Q: What does the sentence say about anxiety?
A: That it is common.

Q: If you place a pronoun in front will the sentence make sense?
A: IT is common - yes!

links the subject (anxiety) to what is being said about it (common).
Therefore, "is" is our predicate/verb!
Your Turn: Find the Predicate
If needed, go through your two questions to find the subject first. Then ask yourself what the sentence is saying about that subject, or if it is linking an idea to that subject.

1) A dog padded across the clean kitchen floor.

2) One of my cousins was a rodeo clown.

3) Gloria swam and yelled when she saw the shark.

Answers: 1) padded 2) was 3) swam, yelled
Completing the Thought
In order for a sentence to be a complete sentence, it must express a complete thought. In other words, for a sentence to be complete, it must be able to stand alone. It cannot rely on a sentence or group of words before or after it to make sense!

A sentence
need a unit of words, such as a complement, object, or phrase to complete the thought of the sentence. Other times, these units just add information to an already complete sentence. A sentence may be as simple as: The dog ran.

"Dog" is the subject, "ran" is the predicate, and "The dog ran" expresses a complete thought.

Subject Complements
A complement is a word or group of words that

the meaning of a sentence.

subject complement
is used with linking verbs only.

A subject complement connects the subject of a sentence to the complement by renaming (predicate nominative) or describing (predicate adjective) it.

One of my
is a
rodeo clown
rodeo clown
(subject complement) renames

Mr. O
is certainly
intelligent (subject complement) describes Mr. O (subject)

Object/Object Complement
A direct object is a noun or pronoun that receives the action of the verb.

An indirect object receives the direct object.

An object complement modifies or renames the direct object and can be a noun or an adjective.

The safety
quarterback, a noun, receives the action of the verb sack directly


to his new home.
is the direct object of the verb
, and
is the indirect object


for a ride home.
asked=verb, Dave=direct object, boyfriend=object complement
Object/Object Complements Break Down 1
Objects seem confusing, but use your common sense. You know how to find subjects and verbs, so you can find objects.

To find and figure out objects/object complements:
1) Find your subject and verb
2) Say your subject and verb out loud and ask
If this question doesn't make sense, then the verb isn't a transitive verb (a verb that takes an object) and doesn't have an object.
3) Indirect objects receive the direct object, but not if constructed as the object of a prepositional phrase.
4) Object complements add-on to the direct object as either a noun or an adjective
Object/Object Complements Break Down 2
The guard made the hole for the running back larger.

First, let's take out any prepositional phrases, so we can find the subject and verb more easily, and so we aren't confusing an object of a preposition with a direct object.

for the running back
is a prep. phrase, with
being the noun (object) of the the preposition

Who/What is the sentence about?
= noun
What is the sentence saying about the guard? He
= predicate

Now on to the objects...

Object/Object Complements Break Down 3
The guard made the hole for the running back larger.

= noun and
= verb

Out loud now, ask yourself with subject and verb:
Q: Guard made...what? whom?
A: the
.... Guard made the
Q: Does the noun hole receive the action of the verb
A: Yes, hole is the direct object
Q: Does anything in the sentence further describe the direct object?
A: Yes,
describes the noun hole (actually modifies it like an adjective). The word
complements the direct object, making it an objective complement.
Object/Object Complements Break Down 4
The coach gave the youthful quarterback a warning.

No prepositional phrases.
= subject;
= verb

Coach gave
...whom or what?
Coach gave
...a warning;
he didn't "give" the quarterback...

= direct object, the noun (or pronoun) that receives the action of the verb

Does anything in the sentence receive the direct object
To whom or what is
, receiving the direct object, becomes the indirect object.

Does the sentence modify or complement the direct object in anyway? No.

It is a group of words that contain a subject, a predicate,
and express a complete thought.
What is a Sentence?
Phrases are a unit of words that serve as a part of speech or as a part of the sentence, but do NOT contain BOTH a subject and a verb. Phrases can serve as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb or as a simple informational piece of the sentence.

Types of Common Phrases:
Noun Phrase
Appositive Phrase
Prepositional Phrase
Adjective Phrase
Adverb Phrase
Participial Phrase
Gerund Phrase
Infinitive Phrase
Noun Phrases
A noun phrase is a group of words that act as a noun. The phrase is made up of a noun and its modifiers.

The tall and brilliant professor gave us a lecture on phrases.

In this sentence,
The tall and brilliant professor
serves as a noun phrase. Professor is the noun (and "main" subject), but the entire noun phrase includes
(an article),
(conjunction), along with

Noun phrases can be replaced by pronouns:
gave us a lecture on phrases.

Appositive Phrases
An appositive phrase is a group of words that usually serves as a noun, but occasionally a pronoun, and adds information or identifies another noun or pronoun in the sentence.

My favorite hip-hop LP, a scratched up copy of NWA's
Straight Outta Compton
, has made many a party bump.

My favorite hip-hop LP
is a noun clause, with
being the main subject of the sentence.

A scratched up copy of NWA's Straight Outta Compton
is an appositive phrase. It adds information to another noun (
) in the sentence.

Appositive phrases are commonly set off by commas.
Prepositional Phrases 1
A prepositional phrase is the most common type of phrase. It is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun. That noun or pronoun is called the object of the preposition.

Prepositional phrases most commonly serve as adjectives or adverbs, and rarely, as nouns.

Prepositional phrases answer questions such as:
Which one? (Adj. prep. phrase)
What kind of? (Adj. prep. phrase)
When? (Adv.)
Where? (Adv.)
How? (Adv.)
Why? (Adv.)
To what extant? or Under what condition? (Adv.)
Prepositional Phrases 2
The students huddled in the hallway during the terrible tornado.

Prepositional phrases: in the hallway & during the terrible tornado.

in the hallway
is an adverb phrase because the phrase modifies the verb
. It answers the question of where?

during the terrible tornado
is also an adverb phrase (answering when?)

Several students from the neighboring school helped in the tornado relief efforts.

...from the neighboring school
is prepositional phrase that serves as an adjective phrase because it modifies the noun
. ...
in tornado relief efforts
is a prep. phrase serving as an adverb - modifies verb helped
A subject and verb is hardly ever located in a prepositional phrase, so being able to locate and identify a prepositional phrase will greatly help you in understanding the rest of the sentence and how it is constructed.

Beneath the calm water
a hermit crab crawled
along the sand

A group
of soccer players
across the campus mall
past the building

Don't confuse objects of prepositions with direct objects of verbs:

We shuffled into class. class = object of a preposition, not a direct object of shuffled.

We shuffled our feet into class. feet = direct object of verb shuffle.

Prepositional Phrases 3
A participle is part verb and part something else (-ing, -ed/d) that serves as an adjective (describe or modify a noun or pronoun). A participle phrase contains the participle and the words associated with it.

The football team, excited from the blow-out win, partied all night.

: a verb (excite) plus (d) is considered a past participle

Excited from the blow-out win
is the participial phrase. It is serves as a phrase that modifies the noun

Reveling in the win, the coaches joined in on the fun.

revel + ing = present participle and modifies the noun
. So,
reveling in the win
= the participial phrase.
Participle Phrases
Gerund Phrases
A gerund is similar to a present participle, but its function in a sentence is completely different. A gerund is a word that is a verb plus -ing. However, a gerund acts as a NOUN, not an adjective like a participle.

A gerund phrase is a unit of words containing a gerund and the words associated with it.

Singing in the shower
helped Jim overcome his stage fright.

Sing + ing (verb + ing) could indicate a gerund or a present participle. However, used here it doesn't work as an adjective: singing doesn't modify or describe any other noun in the sentence.

It does, however, act as a noun that works with the predicate
Infinitive Phrase
A n infinitive is made up of
to + simple verb.
Most commonly infinitives serve as nouns, but occasionally they work as adjectives or adverbs.

To finish his lecture without confusing another student is the professor's only goal now.

+ simple verb
= infinitive.

To finish his lecture without confusing another student
is the complete infinitive phrase in the sentence and works as a noun.

The perfect plan
to survive Mr. O's lectures
is copious amounts of coffee.

Eric is taking composition
to understand grammar rules
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