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Lesson 3: Grammar Terms and Sentence Parts
What is GRAMMAR? Grammar is the set of rules for using a language.
What is a SENTENCE? A sentence is a group of words that express a complete thought or idea. A sentence always begins with a CAPITAL letter and ends with a Period ( . ), a Question mark ( ? ) or an Exclamation point ( ! ).
Every sentence has two main parts: a SUBJECT, and a PREDICATE.
|The boy||Those dogs||kicked the ball.||chased the mailman away.|
|All the women||Six white horses and four black ones||went to the store and bought new gloves.||pulled the carts into town and around the square.|
By looking at the examples above, can you tell what a Subject and a Predicate are?
Subject: Who or what a sentence is about; who or what does something in a sentence; any words that tell about or describe the main subject.
Predicate: What happens in a sentence; who or what it happens to; words that tell when, where, why or how the action happens; words that describe who or what the action happens to.
NOTE: There are words called Linking Verbs that are always part of the Predicate but do not show any action. The most common ones are AM, IS, ARE, WAS, WERE, BE, BEING, BEEN. They tell about the existence of something or someone, not what someone or something does. They are called Linking Verbs because they link the subject to a word or words in the predicate that mean the same as the subject or that describe the subject. To learn more about Linking Verbs, click HERE.
What are Subjects made of?
|a, an||large, small, tiny||man, boy, woman, family||I, you, we||of the family|
|the||green, yellow, blue||horse, dog, cat||he, she, it||in the choir|
|old, young, ancient||building, tree, road||they||with a long beard|
|this, that, these, those||truck, car, bicycle||who, which, what||from the office staff|
|one, five, twenty||happiness, sadness||this, that, these, those||on the corner|
|naked, wealthy, tired, great||freedom, slavery||one, anyone, nobody||without a spare tire|
Articles: Point out nouns; signal that a noun is close ahead in a sentence. Nouns can be used without an article, but articles can never be used without a noun.
Adjectives: Describe nouns. They tell what kind, which one, how many, what size, what color a noun is.
Nouns: Any word that names something is a noun. The name of a person, a place, a thing, an idea, an emotion, or an activity is a noun. If it is a particular person, place or thing (George, New York, Cadillac), it is a Proper Noun and must be written with a capital letter. If it is a general name (man, city, automobile), it is a common noun with no capital letter.
Pronouns: Pronouns take the place of nouns when we write or speak. (Tom did not come to work today. He was sick.)
Prepositional Phrases: These small groups of words tell us which one or what kind the sentence is referring to. (The building on the corner is tall. Which building? Not the one across the street or the one in the middle of the block, but the one "on the corner".)
Not all of these parts need to be in a subject, but all of them may be. This is how, using parts from the box above... (predicates will be in parentheses ).
|He (was sick.)|
|The man (was sick.)|
|The wealthy old man (was sick.)|
|That ancient yellow truck without a spare tire (drove down the street.)|
|The great sadness of the large family in the choir (depressed me.)|
What are Predicates made of?
|am, is, are||very, hardly||a||this, that||girl, boy, dog, ball||me, you||in the back seat, to her teammate|
|was, were||quickly, slowly||an||these, those||river, car, fog||him, her||under the pine tree, before halftime|
|go, went, come, walked||now, then, here, there||the||one, five, many, few, several||concert, movie, play||us, them||between the pages, on the roof|
|run, jump, hide, threw||where, everywhere, home||big, little, old, young, pretty, sad||running, singing, day||anyone, someone||after the party, before dinner|
|like, have, take||when, until||blue, red, dirty, clean, disgusting||pity, cheer, deer||nobody, everybody||during the class, with difficulty|
Verbs: Words that describe or name an action; words that describe a state of being or existence. Every predicate must have a verb. Verbs also tell us when something happens or exists - in the past, the present or the future.
Adverbs: Adverbs modify (add to the meaning of) verbs. They describe when, where, why or how something happens. Adverbs can also modify adjectives and other adverbs.
Pronouns: Different pronouns are used in the predicate than are used in the subject. Subject Pronouns do it and Predicate Pronouns receive it. (They gave the balls to them. He showed the book to him.)
Examples of Predicates. (Subjects are in parentheses ).
|(I) am sad.|
|(He) slowly walked home.|
|(She) threw the ball.|
|(She) quickly threw the ball to her teammate.|
|Before halftime, (she) quickly threw the ball to her teammate.|
Sentences can have one word or one hundred words, but every one must have a subject and a predicate. Here are several examples.
1. Stop! (This sentence would be spoken directly to one or more persons, so it contains an understood but not written subject "You" with the predicate - stop! )
2. Mary dances. (Mary = subject, dances= predicate.)
3. The bear is sleeping. ( The bear = subject , is sleeping = predicate )
4. Last night, Mr. Thompson took his garbage out to the can. ( Mr. Thompson = subject , Last night [adverb telling when the action happened] took his garbage out to the can = predicate )
5. The little black kitten in the cardboard box meowed sadly when the lights were turned off. ( The little black kitten in the cardboard box = subject , meowed sadly when the lights were turned off = predicate )
Exercise A: Draw a circle around the subjects and underline the predicates in the sentences below.
1. Yesterday, Harvey and Harriet took their children to the zoo.
2. The elephants, the lions, and all of the other animals were hungry.
3. The president of the bank looked everywhere for the combination to the vault.
4. They sat quietly.
5. The red race car with yellow stripes finished last in the race.
6. After his speech, the mayor shook hands with members of the crowd.
Exercise B: Match a subject with a predicate from the boxes below and write the complete sentences on the lines.
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Answers to Exercises, Lesson 3:
1. Yesterday, (Harvey and Harriet) took their children to the zoo.
2. (The elephants, the lions, and all of the other animals) were hungry.
3. (The president of the bank) looked everywhere for the combination to the vault.
4. (They) sat quietly.
5. (The red race car with yellow stripes) finished last in the race.
6. After his speech, (the mayor) shook hands with members of the crowd.
Exercise B: Answers will vary. Here are some possibilities.
1. The dirty yellow cat prowled through the dark alley. (waited patiently for his victim. lived in the attic last winter. stood outside the hotel all night. was from the Middle East.)
2. We were late yesterday. (stood outside the hotel all night. prowled through the dark alley. baked delicious apple pies. sold used cars. lived in the attic last winter.)
3. Tom and his brother sold used cars. (stood outside the hotel all night. prowled through the dark alley. lived in the attic last winter.)
4. The taxi driver was from the Middle East. (stood outside the hotel all night. prowled through the dark alley. lived in the attic last winter. baked delicious apple pies. sold used cars. waited patiently for his victim.)
5. Anna's elderly mother baked delicious apple pies. (stood outside the hotel all night. prowled through the dark alley. lived in the attic last winter. sold used cars. was from the Middle East.)
6. The green tree snake waited patiently for his victim. (prowled through the dark alley. lived in the attic last winter. was from the Middle East.)
7. The detective in the gray raincoat stood outside the hotel all night. (prowled through the dark alley. lived in the attic last winter. baked delicious apple pies. sold used cars. waited patiently for his victim.)
8. Seven rats lived in the attic last winter. (prowled through the dark alley.)