Parts of the Sentence – Easy Learning Grammar

Parts of the Sentence – Easy Learning Grammar

Sentences consist of a number of parts, using different parts of speech. The most important parts of speech are:

  • The subject, which is either a noun phrase (see The noun phrase) or a pronoun (see Pronouns). Normally the subject comes before the verb phrase in a sentence.
  • The girls had been swimming.
  • The new teacher came in.
  • They had finished.
  • The verb phrase, which includes the main verb and which may have auxiliary verbs to go with it. See also Types of main verb, The forms of main verbs, Irregular verbs, Auxiliary verbs, Be, Have, Do, Modal verbs, Can and could, May and might, Must, Shall and will, Should, Would, Ought to, Dare and need and Used to.
  • The girls had been swimming.
  • The new teacher came in.
  • They had finished.
  • She uses her skateboard quite a lot.
  • Rajiv was reading a new novel.
  • She is riding someone else’s horse.
  • The object, which is a noun phrase or a pronoun.
  • She used her old skateboard.
  • Rajiv was reading a new novel.
  • Josh found it.

Not all verbs need an object. When there is one, the object normally comes after the verb phrase. Some verbs may also need an indirect object. See also The declarative.

  • Hamish gave me a party invitation.
  • Ruth gave Lauren a nice bunch of flowers.
  • An adverbial, or adjunct, which is an optional part of the sentence.

This may be:

  • a single word, an adverb.
  • Suddenly, it started to rain heavily.
  • an adverbial phrase, a group of words that functions as an adverb.
  • In the morning, the sky was clear.
  • You probably won’t notice it after a while.
  • an adverbial clause, a group of words including a verb, which functions as an adverb.
  • I’ll get some biscuits for you when I’ve poured the drinks.
  • When I’ve poured the drinks, I’ll get some biscuits for you.
  • Mark played while Isabel sang.

Though some adverbials have a fixed position, most can be added to a sentence in several places. Any number of them can be added, limited only by the sense of the sentence.

  • In the winter, the roads get very slippery.
  • The roads get very slippery in the winter.
  • A complement. With certain verbs, such as be and seem, a complement takes the place of an object. A complement can be either an adjective or a noun phrase. Complements provide further descriptive detail about the subject. See also Complements.
  • He became a doctor in 2005.
  • Andrew is a motor-mechanic.
  • He felt a bit silly when he realized what he’d done.
  • They became good friends despite the mistake.