Identifying Sentences: Nearly
every complete sentence has at least a verb and subject.
A more complete analysis of the
structure and makeup of sentences can be examined in:
Diagramming SentencesDiagrams of
moderately long and complex sentences are accompanied by
explanations for both
beginners and experienced diagrammers.
The subject of the sentence: who or what the sentence is about
What does the subject do?
The infinitive form of all verbs
begins with "to"
(or a Verb Phrase)
If the root fits after "to"
and makes sense,
it's a verb.
(to eat, to walk)
or who is the
action done to or for?
The object of the action of the verb can be either direct or indirect.
Or it can be an
objective (prepositional) phrase.
The object represents to whom or for whom the action takes place...
Noun or a Pronoun
Action or State of being
Noun or Pronoun
Sentence Patterns:English word order is
normally SUBJECT - VERB - OBJECT. Following are the commonly
used sentence patterns:
1. SUBJECT - VERB:
2. SUBJECT -VERB-OBJECT:
Elephants frighten mice.
3. SUBJECT - VERB - INDIRECT OBJECT - DIRECT OBJECT: Mary baked Fred a cake
4. There - VERB – SUBJECT: 1
There have been objections.
5. AUXILIARY - SUBJECT - VERB?
Do coyotes howl in the distance?
6. AUXILIARY - SUBJECT - VERB - OBJECT?
Have mice ever frightened elephants?
7. AUXILIARY - SUBJECT - VERB - INDIRECT OBJECT - DIRECT
OBJECT? Will Mary bake Fred a cake?
8. OBJECT - AUXILIARY- SUBJECT - VERB?
What did the mice
9. VERB - there - SUBJECT? 1
Were there any objections?
10. AUXILIARY - there - VERB - SUBJECT? 1
Have there been any objections?
Common patterns of commands (imperative sentences) are derived from the first
three statement patterns.
Many exclamatory sentences are also derived from patterns of statements.
There have been a hundred objections!
Mary baked Fred a cake!
Such Sentences as the following, usually take an exclamation point:
How many objections there were!
What a cake Mary baked Fred!
A sentence pattern such as the following may be a
statement, a question or an exclamation:
Mice Frighten elephants. Mice
frighten elephants? Mice frighten elephants! 1There used as an
introductory work or filler is an expletive, which is never the subject.
books at the left are recommended resources for those who want
to write effectively. They can supplement any secondary, college, or
graduate-level writing project. If you would like to obtain either
click at left. The Writers Harbrace Handbook is a basic guide and
rulebook for writers. It has particularly useful resources on
rhetoric. Adventures in writing is designed as a practical guide for
process. The book is designed for people who want to improve their
writing, including students from non-English based learning environments.
For questions, contact