|a purple pen||noun phrase|
|been watching||verb phrase|
|red, round balls||adjective phrase|
|spoke loudly||adverb phrase|
|out the door||prepositional phrase|
When there is more than one word forming a meaningful unit within a clause, this is known as a phrase. The English language has five main types of phrases. Read on to learn more.
When a group of words is built around a single noun, this is known as a noun phrase. Take a look at the following examples:
- Don’t go near the water.
- Whose purple pen is this?
- She refilled the stapler.
When a phrase contains a main verb and an auxiliary verb, this is known as a verb phrase. Take a look at the following examples:
- How long have you been waiting?.
- I will need to walk my dog.
- My family and I have been on vacation.
When a group of words is built around a single adjective, this is known as an adjective phrase. It can also be a group of words. Take a look at the following examples:
- He was soaked by the cold rain.
- We wandered into the dark cave.
- The black wolf spooked us.
When a group of words are built around a single adverb, this is known as an adverb phrase. It can also be a group of words. Take a look at the following examples:
- We go to the park often.
- He ran around the race track quickly.
- The soldiers fought bravely.
When a group of words consists of a preposition followed by its object (usually a noun phrase), this is known as a prepositional phrase. Take a look at the following examples:
- We travelled around the world.
- She found a shell near the ocean.
- Alice looked through the looking glass.
Study the table below. It shows all phrase types in one sentence:
|She||has been reading||the||old||tattered||book||for two weeks.|
Remember that the word “phrase” describes any short grouping of words, such as “raining cats and dogs” and “to tell the truth”.
What is a Sentence?
|This||is a sentence.|
A sentence has two parts:
- a subject (what the sentence is about)
- a predicate (what is said about the subject)
Look at the following table:
This sentence is short. Sometimes sentences are short and at other times they are longer. There must always be a subject and a predicate. Study the following table:
|Rebecca||writes||books for a living.|
The predicate must always contain a verb. The predicate is only a verb in some sentences:
At the minimum, a sentence must have a subject and a verb. There is only one type of sentence that is the exception: the imperative sentence. Usually, when someone gives a command, they do not use a subject. They do not say a subject because the subject is always the same. The subject is: you. This is the basis of an imperative sentence. Take a look at the following chart:
A sentence should always express a complete thought. Study the following table:
|sentence||She read a book.||YES|
|Please stop that.|
|Do you want to go to the park?|
|not a sentence||A hot coffee cup||NO|
|Underneath the car|
A sentence always begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark, such as a period, question mark, or an exclamation point. Read the following examples:
- Let’s go swimming.
- Is this where you live?
- Be quiet!
Even though it may look easy to define a sentence, this is not true. People who study grammar do not all agree on what a sentence is. Because this is an introductory lesson, the sentences in this lesson are simplistic. Sentences can be quite complex, but we will cover that in a later lesson.
|There Are Four Types Of Sentences:|
In the “What is a Sentence?” section, we saw the basic rules of forming a sentence. Now we dig a little deeper and look at the four types of sentences and sentence structure.
A sentence that is made up of only one independent clause is known as a simple sentence. (An independent clause contains a subject, verb and expresses a complete thought)
- I want to dance.
- My brother wants to play football.
- The horse jumps over the fence.
- Anna lights a candle.
When a sentence has two or more independent clauses joined by either a conjunction or semicolon, this is known as a compound sentence. Either clause could form a sentence if used alone.
|Independent Clause||Coordinating Conjunction||Independent Clause|
- I like dancing, but my brother likes football.
- The trees blew in the wind; a tornado was coming.
- The horse jumps over the fence, and the rider falls off its back.
Take a look at the coordinating conjunctions. There are seven.
- and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so
When a sentence is made up of an independent clause and a dependent clause, this is known as a complex sentence. A dependent clause contains a subject, verb, subordinating conjunction or a pronoun, but it does not express a complete thought.
|Independent Clause||Subordinating Conjunction||Dependent Clause|
- She failed the exam although she studied.
- We exercise until we are tired.
- My coffee was bitter before I added creamer.
- Everyone laughed after the comedian told a joke.
Take a look at some common subordinating conjunctions:
- after, although, as, because, before, how, if, once, since, than, that, though, till, until, when, where, whether, while
Take a look at the five basic relative pronouns:
- that, which, who, whom, whose
When you have a sentence with at least two independent clauses and more than one dependent clause, this is called a compound-complex sentence.
|Independent Clause||Subordinating Clause||Dependent Clause||Coordinating Conjunction||Independent Clause|
- Stephanie forgot Maryann’s birthday, but when she finally remembered, she bought her a cake.
- I do not like thriller novels although I like other types of novels, but my brother loves them.
Another name for a dependent clause is a subordinate clause.
While the above examples are basic sentences, there are more complex sentences. In these examples, a dependent clause may come before an independent one.
Linking, Intransitive and Transitive Verbs
Study the following terms. These are the three types of verbs:
- transitive verbs
- intransitive verbs
- linking verbs
All verbs must have a subject (the person or thing that the sentence is about). Whether or not they have an object (the action that the person or thing in the sentence takes) is the difference between transitive, intransitive, and linking verbs.
S = subject
V = verb
SC = subject complement
DO = direct object
IO = indirect object
take a subject complement
take NO object
take an object
take ONE direct object
take an indirect object and a direct object (TWO total objects)
|cannot be passive||can be passive|
|When verbs can be intransitive or transitive depending on the context of the sentence, this is known as ambitransitive.|
A sentence that contains no object uses a linking verb.
Two parts of a sentence are linked by these verbs. The two parts of the sentence they link are the subject to a noun or adjective. This makes linking verbs similar to the mathematical equals sign (=).
Linking verbs must have a “subject complement” to complete their meaning. They do not make sense without one.
- You go (???)
- You go home.
- She is (???)
- She is a dog groomer.
In the above examples, home and a dog groomer are subject complements.
There are two different ways that linking verbs work:
- Both parts of the sentence are equal to the same thing (I am an engineer).
- The second part of the sentence describes the quality of the first part (I am a professional).
The most obvious linking verb is the verb:
Other linking verbs include:
- appear, become, feel, get, grow, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, taste, turn
Linking verbs are never passive.
Look at these example sentences with linking verbs:
- Are you hungry?
- The magician appeared to be creating something out of nothing.
- She is a dancer.
- The caterpillar became a butterfly.
- You will need to turn right at the stop sign.
- You do not seem excited about the news.
- Everything remained the same over the years.
(We sometimes call linking verbs “copula verbs”.)
Even though we talk about what “linking, intransitive, and transitive verbs” are, it is more important to talk about their usage. The reason of this is because many verbs can be linking, transitive, or intransitive depending on the meaning, or context, of the sentence.
|example verb (feel)||usage|
|I feel great.||linking|
|He felt sore.||intransitive|
|She thought the water felt warm.||transitive|
Verbs with no object are called intransitive verbs. This means that the action the subject of the sentence takes cannot be transferred to an object within the same sentence.
The meaning of most intransitive verbs can be understood if used alone:
- He jumped.
- She danced.
- The horse raced.
Even so, we usually do follow intransitive verbs with other words that describe the verb. We use other words that describe how, where, or when something happens. We never do so with an object:
- He jumped high.
- She danced at night.
- The horse raced at the Kentucky Derby.
Intransitive verbs are never passive.
Take a look at the following examples of intransitive verbs:
- create, crunch, dance, dive, help, hug, jump, limp, pose, teach
Look at these example sentences with intransitive verbs:
- She crunches loudly.
- He teaches at the school.
- The mother and child hug.
- I danced today.
- She poses at work.
- They were jumping high.
- Were the volunteers helping?
Verbs that have an object are called transitive verbs. An easy way to remember this is to remember that their action is TRANSferred from the subject to the object.
Transitive verbs can be both active or passive.
Some transitive verbs have only one object, but some can have two objects. Look at the following example:
Monotransitive verbs have one direct object.
Examples of monotransitive verbs are:
- catch, cook, dodge, fix, hit, love, pat, reach, run, stop, whisper
Look at the following examples:
- My mother cooked dinner.
- We dodged the ball.
- He reached for the dog.
- She runs in the race.
- Jonathan pats his son on the shoulder.
- Stop making me yell at you.
- What do you think they were whispering about?
Ditransitive verbs have both a direct object and an indirect object.
|subject||verb||indirect object||direct object|
|Timothy||traded||Anthony||his Pokemon cards.|
Look at the following examples:
- bet, bring, call, cost, earn, forgive, keep, leave, pay, sell, trade
Look at these example sentences with ditransitive verbs:
- I bet Mary that I will score better than her on the test.
- She keeps a secret from her sister.
- Forgive her for not talking to you.
- He brings his girlfriend roses.
- Bethany pays her landlord her rent.
- Keith sells his boat to his neighbour.
- He earns a living by being an artist.
Remember that depending on the context of the sentence and the verb’s meaning, many verbs can be used as both intransitive or transitive verbs (mono- and di-). These verbs are called “ambitransitive verbs”.
- She called yesterday. (intransitive)
- She is calling her mom. (monotransitive)
- She called her mom to tell her she missed her. (ditransitive)