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  • English sentence

    Building a sentence

    It is the largest independent unit of grammar: it begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point. Adjective: sentential.

    The sentence is traditionally (and inadequately) defined as a word or group of words that expresses a complete idea and that includes a subject and a verb.

    There are four basic structures to the sentence, they are; the simple sentence, the compound sentence, the complex sentence, and the compound-complex sentence..


    The Subject
    The subject is the person or thing the sentence is 'about'. Often (but not always) it will be the first part of the sentence. The subject will usually be a noun phrase (a noun and the words, such as adjectives, that modify it) followed by a verb.

    Finding the Subject



    Once you determine the verb, ask a wh...? question of the verb. This will locate the subject(s).



    For example:



    * David works hard.

    O Who "works hard"?=David does=the subject.

    The subject(s) of a sentence will answer the questions, "who or what."





    The Predicate



    Once you have identified the subject, the remainder of the sentence tells us what the subject does or did. This part of the sentence is the predicate of the sentence.



    The predicate always includes the verb and the words which come after the verb. For example:



    * Michael Schumacher drove the race car.

    O "Michael Schumacher" is the subject; "drove the race car" is the predicate

    The Object



    Some verbs have an object (always a noun or pronoun). The object is the person or thing affected by the action described in the verb.



    Objects come in two types, direct and indirect.



    The direct object refers to a person or thing affected by the action of the verb.



    For example:



    * "He opened the door. "- here the door is the direct object as it is the thing being affected by the verb to open.



    The indirect object refers to a person or thing who receives the direct object.



    For example:



    * " I gave him the book." – Here, him (he) is the indirect object as he is the beneficiary of the action



    Transitive / Intransitive verbs



    Verbs which don't have an object are called intransitive. Some verbs can only be intransitive (disagree). In addition they cannot be used in the Passive Voice e.g. smile, fall, come, and go.



    For example:

    # David disagreed. - Intransitive.



    Verbs that have an object are called transitive verbs e.g. eat, drive, give.



    For example:



    * David gave her a present.



    Some verbs can be transitive or intransitive e.g. sing



    For example:



    * Xavier Nadu sings. - intransitive.

    * Xavier Nadu sings pop songs. - transitive
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