English Sentence Structure
A sentence is a group of words that has a subject and a predicate and expresses a complete thought. It describes an action or states a condition of a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. Depending on the purpose of a sentence, it may be classified into one of four categories: declarative, interrogative, imperative, or exclamatory.
A declarative sentence makes a statement and ends with a period. An interrogative sentence asks a question and ends with a question mark. An exclamatory sentence shows strong feeling and ends with an exclamation point. An imperative sentence gives an order or makes a request. A mild command or request ends with a period, but a strong command or request ends with an exclamation point. Some imperative sentences take the form of .questions but are actually mild commands or polite requests. Such sentences end with periods.
DECLARATIVE Karim took the bus to school this morning.
INTERROGATIVE When does your driver’s license expire, Holly?
EXCLAMATORY The barn is on fire!
IMPERATIVE Pass the cauliflower to me, please.
Get your football out of my garden immediately! Stan, will you please mail this letter when you go downtown.
Subjects and Predicates
Every sentence has a subject and a predicate. The simple subject is the noun or pronoun that names the person, place, thing, or idea that the sentence is about. The simple subject does not include modifiers. The complete subject consists of the simple subject and its modifiers. In this book the term subject refers to the simple subject. In the following sentences, the simple subject is in boldface type.
The officer directing traffic told us to move on.
The one in the middle was the least expensive.
Does a victory in the championship game mean that much to you?
The simple subject of an imperative sentence is always you. Often, you is understood rather than stated.
Khalid, please practice your yodeling outside. [Think: Khalid, you please practice.]
Compound Subjects. A compound subject is a simple subject that consists of two or more nouns or pronouns of equal rank. The term compound subject refers to a compound simple subject.
Several white hens, a large sheep, and a rabbit with beautiful feathers wandered through the barnyard. [Hens, sheep, and rabbit form the compound subject.]
The verb or verb phrase that describes the action or states the condition of the subject is the simple predicate. The -simple predicate does not include modifiers and words that complete the meaning of the verb. The complete predicate includes all such modifiers and complements. The simple predicate does not include the adverb not or never, but the complete predicate does. In this book the term predicate refers to the simple predicate. In the following sentences, the simple predicate is in boldface type.
Rashida tried hard to control her temper.
Perhaps you should adopt a new strategy.
Pred. Sub Pred
Have Rahat’s friends been told of his decision?
Compound Predicates. A compound predicate is a simple predicate that consists of two or more verbs or verb phrases of equal rank. The term compound predicate refers to a compound simple predicate.
With tilled the earth, planted several kinds of seeds, and watered our new garden. [Tilled, planted, and watered form the compound predicate.]
Complete Subjects and Complete Predicates:
The Complete subject consists of the simple subject and off of the words that modify it or identify it.
A lalrge gust of wind carried the flag away. [A, large, and of wind modify gust, which is the simple subject.]
Our favourite place for vacation, Murree, has become quite popular. [Our, favourite, and for vacations modify place, the simple subject.
The mayor and the manager on the local football team will help open the new mall. [The complete subject contains the compound simple subject, mayor and manager.]
The Complete predicate consists of the simple predicate and all of the words that modify it or complete its meaning.
The first two runners crossed the finish line simultaneously. [Finish line is the direct object of crossed, which is the simple predicate, Simultaneously modifies crossed.]
he sun resembled a red disk as it went down beyondthe horizon. [The complete predicate includes an adverb clause as it went down beyond the horizon. A red disk completes the meaning of resembled.]
People coming to the play this evening can either make reservations by phone or buy a ticket at the box office. [Included in the complete predicate is the compound simple predicate, can make and buy.)
Placement of Subjects and Predicates:
You will find subjects and predicates arranged in a variety of ways in sentences. The placement of the subject and the predicate often depends on the purpose of the sentence. In the sentences that follow, the complete subjects are underlined once and the complete predicates, twice.
A flock of honking geese flew above us toward Pakistan. [The subject precedes the predicate. Flock, not geese, is the subject.]
There will be no exceptions to the rules. [The sentence has inverted word order, meaning that the subject follows the predicate.]
Across the bridge marched the soldiers. [The sentence has inverted word order.]
Although she had not been chosen to go to the state science fair, twelve-year-old Rehana was proud of the science project that she had done. [The subject appears between the two parts of the predicate.]
Have you ever driven a tractor trailer down a narrow street? [Think: you have ever driven.]
Lock the cellar door before you go to bed. [Think: You lock the cellar door. The entire imperative sentence is the complete predicate because the subject you is implied.]
The circus is coming to town!
What a great singer Noor Jahan is!
A complement is a word or a group of words that completes the meaning of the predicate. Complements are always part of the complete predicate.
Hafeez became a researcher in a computer laboratory. Hafeez became what? Researcher. Researcher is a complement.]
We enjoyed the hospitality of the Jamils this summer. [We enjoyed what? Hospitality. Hospitality is a complement.]
If the preceding sentences did not have complements, their meaning would be incomplete.
Hafeez becam (became what?)
We enjoyed. (Enjoyed what?)
This unit covers three types of complements: objects, objective complements, and subject complements.
Objects are nouns or pronouns that follow action verbs in the active voice. There are two kinds of objects: direct objects and indirect objects.
A direct object is a noun or a pronoun that follows an action verb in the active voice and receives the action of the verb. It answers the question What? or Whom? Verbs that take direct objects are called transitive verbs. Modifiers are not part of the object.
The new streetlights sent a flood of light over the expressway. (Sent what? Flood)
Javaid opened the door to the closet, grabbed a hanger, and hung his coat on it.
An indirect object is a noun or a pronoun that names the person or thing to whom or for whom an action is performed. An indirect object follows an action verb in the active voice. In most cases an indirect object is used with a direct object. The indirect object comes immediately after the verb and before the direct object.
The tumble that Ali took gave an ugly bruise on his knee. [Think: The tumble gave a bruise to him.]
Nasir’s teammates awarded him the game ball for his good performance in the game. [Think: His teammates awarded (to) him the game ball.]
Compound Objects. Like subjects and verbs, objects may be compound. A compound object consists of two or more objects that complete the same predicate.
Compound Direct Object:
I noticed a new library and a new auditorium on my trip through town.
Compound Indirect Object:
Have you written Raheel and Rahat a letter thanking them for your birthday presents?
An objective complement is a noun or an adjective that follows a direct object and explains, identifies, or describes that object. Only certain verbs take an objective complement: make, find, think, elect, choose, appoint, name, consider, call and synonyms of these verbs.
Noun as Objective Complement:
The committee considered Saeed the best person for Principalship. [Person is the objective complement of the verb, considered. It identifies the direct object, Saeed.]
Adjective as Objective Complement:
Most critics thought the play quite interesting. [Interesting is the objective complement of the verb, thought. It described the direct object, play.]
A sentence may have a compound objective complement, which consists of two or more objective complements.
Visitors throughout the years have found Murree varied, tradition-filled, and colorful. [The adjectives varied, tradition-filled, and colourful and objective complements.]
A subject complement is a word that comes after a linking verb and identifies or describes the subject. Subject complements often follow forms of the verb be. Other verbs that may take subject complements are in the following list.
appear look sound
become remain stay
feel seem taste
There are two kinds of subject complements: predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives.
A predicate nominative is a noun or a pronoun that follows a linking verb and identifies the subject of the sentence. The root of the word nominative is nominate, which means “to name.” In a sense the predicate nominative renames the subject.
For the last two summers, Khan has been a lifeguard at the pool. [Lifeguard identifies the subject, Khan.]
Rasheed has remained a force of stability in the company. [Force identifies the subject, Rasheed.]
This field will be a playground, a tennis court, or a parking lot. [The sentence has a compound predicate nominative: playground, tennis court, and parking lot.]
A predicate adjective is an adjective that follows a linking verb and modifies the subject of the sentence.
The scenes of Swat remain quite beautiful in spite of increasing numbers of visitors. [Beautiful modifies the subject, scenes.]
The air near the factory smelled faintly acrid. [Acrid modifies the subject, air.]
The tree in the font yard has grown tall and straight. [The sentence has a compound predicate adjective: tall and straight.]