The Parts of a Sentence A sentence is a group of words punctuated correctly that expresses a complete thought or statement. In order for a group of words to be classified as a sentence, it must have all of the following three items: 1. A Subject – This is who or what does the action in a sentence or who or what the sentence is about. The subject is always a noun or a pronoun. 2. A Verb - This can be the action word in a sentence or a verb that shows a state of being. *** It is very important that you learn your state of being verbs. 3. A Complete Thought – The group of words must clearly make a statement or ask a question. If any one of these three items is missing, you do not have a sentence! There is no set length to a sentence. A sentence can be one word or 100 words. Don’t determine that a group of words is or isn’t a sentence because it is too long or too short. Just check that it has at least one subject, one verb, and a complete idea. Example: Stop. This is a sentence. It has a verb: stop. It has a subject; since it is a command, the subject is you understood. And the idea of stopping is a complete one. As you write, become aware of how you are writing your sentences. Check to see that you have subjects (nouns or pronouns) doing things (verbs) and that your ideas are complete. If you can’t find an action word in your sentence, then check for a state of being or linking verb. This is a group of 21 words that are verbs 100% of the time. They do not show action. They explain the state or condition of the subject. Example: We are here. The verb are is showing the condition of the subject we. Are is linking the subject we to here. It is important to simply memorize the state of being or linking verbs. This way you will be able to find your verb in a sentence that has no action word. Knowing these words will also come in handy later when you work with subject/verb agreement and pronoun usage. Grammar To Memorize 1 State of Being Verbs or Linking Verbs Any time you see these words, identify them as verbs. be being am is are was were will be shall be may be might be must be should be would be can be could be should have been would have been could have been shall have been must have been You should be able to look at a sentence and say, “This word is the subject and this word is the verb.” When you edit your writing, you must be sure to check that all of your sentences have subjects and verbs. There are a few things to remember when looking for subjects and verbs: 1. There can be multiple subjects and verbs in a sentence. 2. Words ending in ing are not verbs unless they are connected to state of being or helping verbs. 3. The words there and here are never subjects. 4. In a command, the subject is you understood. (The word you may not appear in the sentence.) 5. Subjects are never found in *prepositional* phrases. *Prepositional Phrases are phrases that begin with prepositions and end with nouns or pronouns. These phrases often explain where, when, or how about ideas in a sentence. Examples A. We drove down the shore on the weekend. down the shore – tells where we drove on the weekend – tells when we drove Grammar to Memorize 2 Commonly Used Prepositions aboard about above across after against along among around at before for below beneath beside besides between beyond but (except) by concerning down during except since from according to as of aside from because of by means of in inside into like near of off on out over past without through in addition to in front of in place of in spite of instead of throughout till to towards under underneath until up upon with behind next to on account of out of owing to prior to Grammar to Memorize 3 Indefinite Pronouns Singular Indefinite Pronouns The following words are always singular when used as subjects in a sentence. Be sure that in the present tense, the verbs that go with these words end in s. Remember to cross out the prepositional phrases when trying to locate the subject in a sentence. each, either, neither Either of the girls is going to win. one, everyone, no one, anyone, someone Everyone is excited about the show. nobody, anybody, everybody, somebody crime. Somebody knows who did the nothing, anything, everything, something Everything is going to be all right. Plural Indefinite Pronouns The following words are always plural when used as subjects in a sentence. Be sure that in the present tense, the verbs that go with these words do not end in s. several, few, both, many Several of the students are going. A few are all that we need. Grammar to Memorize 4 Subjective (Nominative) Case Personal Pronouns - The following pronouns are pronouns that can be the subjects in sentences. I you he/she we you they Grammar to Memorize 5 Objective Case Personal Pronouns – The following pronouns are used as objects in sentences. me us you you him/her them Grammar to Memorize 6 Conjunctions The following are the only conjunctions that can be used to join two complete sentences together. When using these words to link sentences, be sure to use a comma before them. and, or, but, for (when it means because), so, yet, nor Example: I left early for school, but I was still late because of traffic. We tried so hard, yet we still lost. I want to go to college, and then I want to go to graduate school.