BASIC ENGLISH SENTENCE STRUCTURE
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|Darrel||wrote||a novel||last year|
The subject is the actor of a sentence in active voice. It is the person or thing that performs, or is responsible for, the action of the sentence. It usually begins the sentence and precedes the verb.
Every sentence in English must have a subject. Commands will not have a visible subject, however, the subject [you] is understood. Example:
Run quickly! = You run quickly! (See more under Commands in Chapter 14.)
The subject can be a single noun.Cats
The subject can also be a noun phrase, which is a group of words ending with a noun. A noun phrase CANNOT begin with a preposition. (See more under Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases in Chapter 12).The car
is in the garage.That hot red dress
looks fabulous.Examples of subjects:Tom
likes to go fishing.The English teacher
is a very nice person.Susan and Alex
went to the movie together.Those boys
are good basketball players.We actors
are a happy group.
The verb follows the subject when the sentence is declarative. A verb normally reveals the action of the sentence. Every sentence in English must have a verb.
The verb can be a single word.
The verb can also be a verb phrase. A verb phrase contains one, or more, auxiliary verbs and one main verb. The main verb is always preceded by the auxiliary verbs. (See more about verb structure in Chapter 5.)
Martha has been talking
to her new friend.
Terry is visiting
his aunt today.Examples of verbs and verb phrases:
Jerry has returned
The storm made
a lot of noise.
George is playing
in a tournament tomorrow.
I will go
to bed soon.
Sally was jealous
of Lisa’s new dress.
The object may be a person or thing affected by the action described in the verb.
A complement (object) provides more information about the verb. Often, it consists of a noun, or noun phrase, and will usually follow the verb in a sentence relaying active voice.
A complement (object) CANNOT begin with a preposition. (See more under Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases in Chapter 12).
A complement (object) answers the question what? or whom?Examples of complements:
Jack threw the stone
far. (What did Jack throw?)
The hungry bird ate a worm
. (What did the bird eat?)
He called Janice
after the party. (Whom did he call?)
She was chewing gum
in class. (What was she chewing?)
The ball hit Mike
during the game last night. (Whom did the ball hit?)
A modifier tells the time, place, or manner of action. The modifier usually follows the complement. Not every sentence requires a modifier.
Prepositional phrases are commonly used as modifiers (See more under Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases in Chapter 12).Examples of prepositional phrases:under the house
, after breakfast
, in the morning
Adverbs and adverbial phrases are also used as modifiers, or modifiers of time. A modifier of time will usually come last when more than one modifier is used.Examples of adverbs and adverbial phrases:yesterday
, last semester
, quite awful
A modifier answers the question of where? when? or how?Examples of modifiers:
She is earning her degree at Cornell University
. (Where is she earning her degree?)
John fell down the stairs
(Where did John fall?) yesterday
. (When did John fall?)
The cheetah was running quite fast
. (How was the cheetah running?)
We have an appointment at ten o’clock tomorrow
. (When do we have an appointment?)
The soldier fired the gun repeatedly
. (How did the soldier fire the gun?)
Exercise 1: Identifying Subject, Verb, Complement and Modifier
Mark the subject, verb, complement and modifier in the following sentences. Use an “S” for subject, “V” for verb, “C” for complement and “M” for modifier. NOTE: Remember that not all sentences have a complement or modifier. Also, some sentences can have more than one modifier.Examples:
|Juan||is eating||tacos||at the new restaurant.|
|The girls||are talking to||the boys.|
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- Jerry opened his present.
- Mr. Johnson drinks coffee every morning.
- Birds fly.
- The dog chased the cat up the tree.
- The wind blew violently.
- Jimmy scored a goal at the soccer match last Saturday.
- They ran inside quickly.
- Bill, George and Alice bought CDs at the music store today.
- The barrel rolled down the hill.
- Terry is watching television.
This post is a part of [GMAT GRAMMAR BOOK