The Sentence Structure

This is Lesson 2 of our Basic English Series

We learned in Lesson 1 that a sentence must have a subject and a predicate. In this lesson we will learn what the subject and predicate are.

  • What is the subject of a sentence?
    The subject is the part that is being spoken about (or being described) in the sentence. Depending on the kind or structure of the sentence, the subject is found at the beginning of a declarative sentence. For an interrogative sentence, the subject is usually found in the middle or end of the sentence.
  • What is the predicate of a sentence?
    The predicate is the part that speaks, or says something (describes), about the subject in the sentence.
  • Examples:
    • Declarative sentence: The baby (Subject) is sleeping. (Predicate)
    • Interrogative sentence: Where do you (Subject) live? (Predicate)
    • Imperative Sentence: Please bring your devices tomorrow. The subject is ‘You’ which usually does not appear, or spoken, in an imperative sentence. The words in blue are the parts of the subject of the sentence and the ones in red are the parts of the predicate. As explained in Lesson 1, the subject of an imperative sentence is understood to be ‘You’.

Let us see the examples given in Lesson 1 to understand the subject and predicate of each sentence. Again we will highlight the subject in blue and the predicate in red.

  • Declarative sentence – A sentence that makes a simple statement.
    • Examples:
      • The baby is sleeping.
      • This is a website.
      • America was discovered by Columbus.
  • Interrogative sentence – A sentence that asks a question. It ends with a question mark (?). In such sentence, the predicate or part of the predicate usually comes before the subject.
    • Examples:
      • What is your name?
        Equivalent in declarative sentence: Your name is Joe. (What)
      • Where is your home?
        Equivalent in declarative sentence: Your home is New York. (Where)
      • Why are you here?
        Equivalent in declarative sentence: You are here to learn. (Why)
  • Imperative sentence – A sentence that asks, requests, or commands someone to do something. It ends either with a period (.) or an exclamation point (!). In an imperative sentence, the subject is usually left out and is understood to be ‘you’ (the receiver).
    • Examples:
      • Finish your work, now!
        Equivalent in declarative sentence: (You finish your work now!)
      • Run!
        Equivalent in declarative sentence: (You run!)
      • Bring your devices tomorrow.
        Equivalent in declarative sentence: (You bring your devices tomorrow.)
  • Exclamatory sentence – A sentence that conveys a strong feeling or sudden emotion.  It ends with an exclamation point.
    • Examples:
      • You are awesome!
      • That is amazing!
      • He is the thief!

For emphasis, we would like to repeat rule number 1 of the English Language Grammar Rules (ELGR) we mentioned in lesson 1.

ELGR1: For a sentence to express a complete thought, it must have a subject and a predicate.

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