Sentence structure Parts of the sentence


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Sentence structure

Parts of the sentence


Parts of the sentence

The principal parts

The secondary parts

The independent elements

The principal parts

The subject

The predicate

The subject

  • A subject in grammar is the first part in a sentenceabout which the second part, the predicate, tells something. The subject performs an action, or indicates what or whom the sentence is about.
  • In a declarative sentence, the subject comes before verbs such as in the phrase, “The bell rings,” in which the subject “bell” comes before the verb“rings.” However, in interrogative sentences, a subject follows the auxiliary verb, such as “Does bell ever ring?” In fact, the subject functions as a noun or a pronoun. For example, in the sentence, “Momma was preparing our evening meal, and Uncle Willie leaned on the door sill” (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou), “Momma” and “Uncle Willie” are both subjects.
  • Types of Subject
  • Simple Subject – In a simple subject, either a noun or a pronoun does the action. Unlike a complete subject, it does not need descriptive words or modifiers, but only the main noun or pronoun. For example, “Superman saved the people.”
  • Here, “Superman” is a simple subject.
  • Complete Subject – A complete subject is the main word in the sentence, along with the modifiers (often adjectives) that describe it. To determine a complete subject, see all the words modifying it in this example: “The wise and beautiful woman fell into cold water.”
  • In this sentence, “the wise and beautiful woman” is a complete subject because “woman” did an action, “fell.” The words coming before “woman” are modifiers, which have described the woman.
  • Compound Subject – A compound subject is a combination of two or more subjects within a sentence. For example, “The girl and her mother are planning holidays.”
  • The underlined part is a compound subject containing two nouns “girl” and “mother,” and includes the connector “and.” This is a compound subject because the girl and her mother are doing the action together.

The predicate

  • A simple predicate is the word that shows the action in a sentence. It is used to tell you what the subject of the sentence does. Look at some of the shorter sentences in the English language:
  • She danced. The subject of the sentence is "she," the person being spoken about, but what is being conveyed or expressed about this person? She performed an action, of course; she moved her body; she danced. The word that modifies the subject "she" is the past-tense verb "danced."
  • It talked! It might be a baby saying a word for the first time, a parrot squawking "hello," or even an inanimate object somehow bestowed with the power of speech. What you know about "it" is that, according to the speaker, it spoke. "Talked" modifies the subject "it."
  • These sentences are very simple examples of what predicates are, since the predicate is expressed entirely by one verb. A simple predicate may also be a short verb phrase.
  • Some more examples of simple predicates are as follows. The simple predicate is in bold in each example.
  • I sing.
  • He was cooking dinner.
  • We saw the cat outside.
  • I walked the dog.
  • Anthony wrote to his friend.
  • They ate all the candy.
  • My aunt moved.
  • The house has a new roof.
  • Andrew threw the ball.
  • He is sad.

The secondary parts

The object

The attribute

The adverbial modifier

The Object

  • The Object is a secondary part of the sentence expressed by a verb, a noun, a substantival pronoun, an adjective, a numeral, or an adverb, and denoting a thing to which the action passes on, which is a result of the action, in reference to which an action is committed or a property is manifested, or denoting an action as object of another action.
  • Objects differ form one another by their morphological composition, by the parts of speech or phrases which perform the function of object by the type of their relation to the action expressed by the verb (direct/indirect)
  • Classification of object: 1. Prepositional and non-prepositional objects 2. Morphological types (noun, pronoun, substantivized adjective, infinitive, gerund) 3. Direct/indirect, is applied only to objects expressed by nouns or pronouns. There are sentences in which the predicate is expressed by the verbs send, show, lend, give. These verbs usually take 2 different kinds of objects simultaneously: 1) an object expressing the thing which is sent, shown, lent, given, etc. 2) the person or persons to whom the thing is sent, shown, lent, given, etc. The difference between the 2 relations is clear enough: the direct object denotes the thing immediately affected by the action denoted by the predicate verb, whereas the indirect object expresses the person towards whom the thing is moved, e. g. We sent them a present. The indirect object stands 1 st, the direct object comes after it.

The Attribute

  • The attribute The problem of the attribute. The attribute is a secondary part of the sentence modifying a part of the sentence expressed by a noun, a substantivized pronoun, a cardinal numeral, and any substantivized word, and characterizing the thing named by these words as to its quality or property.
  • The attribute can either precede or follow the noun it modifies. Accordingly we use terms prepositive and postpositive attribute. The position of an attribute with respect to its head-word depends partly on the morphological peculiarities of the attribute itself, and partly on stylistic factors.
  • The size of the prepositive attributive phrase can be large in ME. Whatever is included between the article and the noun, is apprehended as an attribute.

The Adverbial modifier

  • The Adverbial Modifier. The term ‘adverbial modifier’ cannot be said to be a very lucky one, as it is apt to convey erroneous (wrong, incorrect) ideas about the essence of this secondary part. They have nothing to do with adverbs and they modify not only verbs.
  • There are several ways of classifying adverbial modifiers: 1. According to their meaning – not a grammatical classification. However it may acquire some grammatical significance. 2. According to their morphological peculiarities – according to the parts of speech and to the phrase patterns. It has also something to do with word order, and stands in a certain relation to the classification according to meaning. adverb, preposition + noun, a noun without a preposition, infinitive or an infinitive phrase 3. According to the type of their head-word – is the syntactic classification proper. The meaning of the word (phrase) acting as modifier should be compatible with the meaning of the head -word.
  • The Adverbial modifier: 1) of place and direction e. g. He found himself in a lonely street. The procession moved slowly towards the embankment. He'll be here tomorrow. 2) of time and frequency e. g. I'll phone you at six o'clock. He seldom spoke with such frankness. 3) of manner e. g. She was crying bitterly. He came here by taxi. She opened the drawer with difficulty. He walked very fast.

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