The Simple Sentence
Sentence Fragments
Clear Sentences
In conversation, you do not always have to use complete
 You can answer a question with a word or two:
My dad.
 You can ask a question without using a complete
Whose car?
Which girl?
What time?
In writing, however, you must use complete sentences to
make your meaning clear, because the reader is not at
hand to ask you to repeat, to explain, or to fill in words
you have left out.
Building a Sentence
• You may not think of
yourself as a mechanic.
However, speaking and
writing English is
somewhat like building
an engine.
• Like a mechanic
working on an engine, a
good writer carefully
combines parts to build
a complete sentence.
Building a Sentence
• An engine is composed
of pistons, shafts, and
cylinders. A sentence is
made from its separate
parts, too – subjects,
verbs, modifiers, and
complements must work
together to convey
• When the parts of an
engine are put together
properly, the car will run
smoothly. A well puttogether sentence is also
smooth and efficient.
Complete Sentences
The surest way to get your meaning across is to use
complete sentences.
A sentence is a group of words that expresses a
complete thought.
By “complete thought” we mean the clear and entire
expression of whatever you want to say. Which of the
following groups of words express a complete thought?
 Caitlin
 Found a kitten
 Caitlin found a kitten.
Subjects and Predicates
Every sentence has two basic parts: the subject and the
predicate. The subject tells whom or what the sentence
is about. The predicate tells something about the
subject. It usually tells what the subject is, what the
subject did, or what happened to the subject.
(Who or what)
(What is said about the subject)
Hungry dogs
bark constantly.
A cold rain
fell all through the night.
My brother
laughed at me.
Subjects and Predicates
All sentences express a complete thought. All
of them tell something (predicate) about a
person, place, or thing (subject).
An easy way to understand the parts of a
sentence is to think of the sentence as telling
who did something, or what happened. The
subject tells who or what. The predicate tells is,
did or happened.
Subjects and Predicates
(Who or what)
(Is, Did, or Happened)
The runner
crossed the finish line.
My parents
planted a garden.
The car
skidded on the wet pavement.
The bike
needs air in its tires.
The subject of the sentence tells who or what the sentence is about.
The predicate of the sentence is the idea expressed about the subject.
Simple Subjects and Verbs
In every sentence certain words are more important than
others. These essential words are the basic framework
of the sentence. Look at these examples:
The volcano
erupted again.
A reporter from the paper
interviewed the mayor.
My best friend
became a graphic artist
The subway riders
raced for the doors.
Simple Subjects and Verbs
All the words in the subject part of the sentence
are called the complete subject. Within the
complete subject is a key word, the simple
The complete predicate is all the words that
express an idea about the subject. The key word
within the complete predicate is the simple
predicate, or verb.
Simple Subjects and Verbs
My best friend became a graphic artist.
The complete subject of this sentence is My best friend. The
simple subject is friend.
The complete predicate of this sentence is became a graphic artist.
The verb is became.
The key word in the subject of a sentence is called the simple
subject. It is the subject of the verb.
The key word in the predicate of a sentence is called the simple
predicate. The simple predicate is the verb. From now on, we will
use the word verb rather than the phrase simple predicate.
The Parts of a Verb
A verb may consist of one word or of several words. It
may be made up of a main verb and helping verbs. In
naming the verb of any sentence, be sure to name all the
words that it is made of.
might have
might have gone
will see
are driving
should be
should be going
The Parts of a Verb
Sometimes the parts of a verb are separated from each
other by words that are not part of the verb.
In each of the following sentences, the verb is underlined.
The words in between are not part of the verb.
 I have never been to California.
 We did not see the accident.
 The bus has often arrived late.
The Parts of a Verb
Some words are joined with other words to make contractions. In naming
verbs that appear in contractions, name only the verb. The word not is an
adverb. It is never part of a verb.
hasn’t (has not)
weren’t (were not)
I’ve (I have)
We’d (we had or would)
had or would
Subjects in Unusual Positions
Many sentences begin with the word there. Sometimes there is
used as an adverb modifying the verb to tell where something is or
There stood the boy. (They boy stood there.)
There is our car. (Our car is there.)
In other sentences, there is only an introductory word to help get the
sentence started.
There is no candy in the machine. (No candy is in the machine.)
There are some mistakes here. (Some mistakes are here.)
In most sentences beginning with there, the subject comes after the
verb. To find the subject, first find the verb. Then ask who or what.
Subjects in Unusual Positions
The usual order of words in a sentence is subject-verb.
In many sentences, however, the subject comes after the
verb or between parts of the verb.
Sentences Beginning with Here
Here is the stapler. (The stapler is here.)
Here are your keys. (Your keys are here.)
Unlike there, the word here is always an adverb telling where about
the verb.
Subjects in Unusual Positions
Are you leaving?
Has the mail come?
(You are leaving?)
(The mail has come?)
Sentences Beginning with Phrases or Adverbs
Onto the field dashed the team.
(The team dashed onto the field.)
Finally came the signal.
(The signal finally came.)
Imperative Sentences
In imperative sentences, which state commands or
requests, the subject is usually not given. Since
commands and requests are always given to the person
spoken to, the subject is you.
Since the you is not given, we say that it is understood.
 (You) Bring me the newspaper.
 (You) Wipe your feet.
 (You) Get out your homework.
Sentence Fragments
A group of words that is only part of a sentence is called
a sentence fragment. A sentence fragment is a group of
words that does not express a complete thought.
A fragment is confusing because something is missing
from the sentence. Sometimes the subject is left out,
and the reader wonders who or what the sentence is
about. At other times the verb is omitted. Then the
reader wonders what happened? or what about it?
Sentence Fragments
Shifted into a lower gear.
(Who shifted?)
The quarterback near the ten-yard line.
(What happened?)
In the middle of the road.
(Who or what is in the middle of the road?
What is happening there?)
Finding the Verb and Its Subject
The verb and its subject are the basic framework of every sentence.
All the rest of the sentence is built around them. To find this
framework, first find the verb. Then ask who or what before the
verb. This will give you the subject.
My mother’s cookies melt in your mouth.
Verb melt
What melts? cookies
Simple Subject cookies
You will be able to tell a fragment from a sentence easily if you
keep your eye on subjects and verbs.
Sentence Fragments
The trucker shifted into a lower gear.
The quarterback fumbled near the ten-yard line.
The car stalled in the middle of the road.
Fragments Due to
Incomplete Thoughts
What’s missing in each of the following?
In our neighborhood
Scampered up the oak tree in the front yard
The horoscope in the daily paper
Draws with charcoal or ink
Fragments Due to
Incomplete Thoughts
When a writer is in a hurry, he or she sometimes
jots down only bits of ideas. The writer’s pen
doesn’t keep up with the flow of ideas.
Often the writer understands these fragments of
ideas. However, they will probably seem
unclear to a reader because at least part of the
subject or the predicate is missing.
Fragments Due to
Incorrect Punctuation
All sentences end with punctuation marks. The
mark may be a period, a question mark, or an
exclamation point. Sometimes a writer uses one
of these punctuation marks too soon. Because
the idea is incomplete, a sentence fragment
Fragments Due to
Incorrect Punctuation
Cars with brake problems. Were recalled by the
Are you going? To Cedar Point?
A diver freed a dolphin. From a fishing net.

The Simple Sentence - Perry Local Schools