What is a sentence?
When you're talking with friends, you probably don't worry much about speaking in complete sentences.
"Saw a movie today"
"What about that?"
"Not great. Cheesy love story."
You've probably had conversations like this one. The meaning is clear because you know the situation and understand the subject being discussed. Besides if you don't immediately know what your friend has said, you can immediately ask, "What do you mean?"
When you write, though, single words or phrases are not enough to make an idea clear. This is why it's so important for you to write in complete sentences. A sentence makes your ideas clear. Your reader isn't forced to guess what you really mean.
A sentence is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate and that expresses a complete thought.
The subject is whom or what the subject is about.
The boy friend bought two tickets to Saturday's rock concert.
This sentence is about the boy friend. So, the subject is the boy friend.
The predicate of a sentence tells what the subject is or what it does. Everything in the sentence that is not part of the subject is part of the predicate. What is the predicate of the above sentence?
You should have identified the predicate as the words bought two tickets to Saturday's rock concert.
Besides having a subject and a predicate, a sentence must also express a complete thought. When you finish a sentence the listener or reader should not ask questions such as Who did it? What is this about? What happened?
The example sentence has a subject and predicate and expresses a complete thought.
Subject: The young woman
Predicate: bought two tickets to Saturday's rock concert.
Three rules for a sentence:
1. It must have a subject that tells who and what the sentence is about.
2. It must have a predicate that tells what the subject is or does.
3. It must express a complete thought.
In each of the following sentences, first find the predicate, read it aloud. Then find the subject, read it aloud, and then read the whole sentence aloud.
1. Jack attacked the chores with enthusiasm.
2. Susan's kitchen table was filled with fresh baked bread.
3. Storms broke several windows in the residential buildings.
4. Tracy raced to the phone in the living room.
5. My sister's summer house will always be the least favorite.
6. The witness answered the police officer carefully.
7. The surgeon arrived at the hospital at 7:30 a.m.
8. Jean Hackman prepared a Mexican dish for her children.
9. The forest fire had destroyed several thousands acres of trees.
10. Mary's grandmother will turn ninety-five this August.
Parts of a Simple Sentence:
The simple sentence is the most basic, or simple, form of the complete sentence. It has at least one subject and one predicate.
The subject of a sentence tells whom or what the sentence is about. The simple subject is a part of the sentence's subject. It tells what or whom the sentence is about but does not include the descriptive words that are part of the subject.
Look at the following example: Which key word tells what or whom the sentence is about?
The angry protesters walked up and down the boulevard.
Subject: The angry protesters
Predicate: walked up and down the boulevard
The simple subject is protesters. It tells whom the sentence is about.
Sometimes the subject includes more than one word. A subject that has more than one word connected with words like and and or is called a compound subject. In the following sentence, the compound subject is My daughter and my husband.
My daughter and husband played tennis together last weekend.
As said earlier, the predicate is what the subject is or does. A verb is the most important part of the predicate. It's the key word that tells what something is or does. A verb does not include the descriptive words found in the predicate. Often, but not always, the verb shows action, as in the following sentence.
George Maxwell walked onto the stage of the comedy club.
Subject: George Maxwell
Predicate: walked onto the stage of the comedy club
In this sentence, the verb is walked. It tells what the subject, George Maxwell, does.
Often a verb needs two or more words to express an action or state of being. This is a way of showing whether the action or state of being occurs in the past, present, or future. In the following sentence, the words had waited are the verb.
The photographer had waited patiently for the lion to wake up.
Subject: The photographer
Predicate: had waited patiently for the lion to wake up.
© 2013 Copy Rights Reserved at Online Tutor For English