Basic Sentence Structure:Subjects & Verbs English Lab Mini-Lesson Compiled and narrated by Jen Watson, Instructional Skills Specialist, St. Philip’s College English Lab, 2011
verbs • Verbs involve one or more words that tell what is happening in the sentence. • There are three types of verbs: • Action verbs • Linking verbs • Helping (auxiliary) verbs
Action verbs • To identify action verbs, look for words that you or a thing can physically do. Find the word that is the ACTION of the sentence. Mario jumped. Elsa eats. The flag waved.
Linking Verbs • Linking verbs do not show action, but they point to how something is. • They show a state of being or existence. Mario seems athletic. (Mario seems what?) Elsa has a sweet tooth. (Elsa has what?) The flag is a symbol of freedom. (The flag is what?) • Linking verbs: am, are, is, was, were, have, has, had, seem, become
Helping Verbs • Helping verbs help the main verb to create the complete verb. • To find the complete verb, look for the main verbs and all the words that help express the action. Mario is jumping into the pool. The word is supports the main verb jumping. Elsa will eat ice cream. The word will supports the main verb eat. The flag was waving. The word was supports the main verb waving. Helping verbs: am, is, are, was, were, have, has, had, do, does, did, will, would, shall, should, can, could, may, might, must
Compound Verbs • Compound verbs contain two or more verbs to show what is happening. The same person or thing (the subject) performs both actions within one sentence. Mario jumped in the pool and swam around. Elsa eats ice cream and watches TV. The flag waved and flapped in the breeze.
Subjects • To find the subject of a sentence, ask yourself: Who or what is this sentence about? Who or what is performing the action? Mario jumped. (Who jumped?) Elsa eats. (Who eats?) The flag waved. (What waved?)
Nouns and subjects • A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. • All subjects are nouns, but not all nouns are subjects within a sentence. Mario jumped in the pool. Mario and pool are nouns, but only Mario is the subject of the sentence performing the action jumped. (The pool did not jump into itself!)
Compound Subjects • Compound subjects contain two or more subjects performing the action or actions within one sentence. Mario and his friends jumped. Elsa and I eat. The flag and the eagle are symbols of freedom.
Compound Subjects and Compound Verbs • In a sentence with a compound subject and compound verb, the actions or states of being are performed by the subjects. Mario and his friendsjumped in the pool and swam around. Elsa and Iate ice cream and watched tv. The flag and the eagleare symbols of freedom and represent the United States.
Unstated Subjects • Unstated subjects occur in commands and requests. We do not say them out loud, but the word you is the implied subject. Please pass the salt. You please pass the salt. Close the door. Youclose the door. Say hello to my little friend. Yousay hello to my little friend.
Basic Sentence Structure • A complete sentence contains at least one subject and one verb. This is called an independent clause. An independent clause can stand alone. • Subject + Verb = Independent clause. Mariojumped. Elsaeats. The flagwaved.
Prepositional Phrases • Prepositions and prepositional phrases add interesting details to a sentence and give the reader more information. • A preposition is placed before a noun (person, place, or thing) or pronoun (I, me, my, mine, you, your, he, his, him, she, her, it, its, we, us, our, they, them) to form a phrase to relate to another word in the sentence. • Prepositional phrases do not contain the main subject or verb. before on above by after in below through during into to with until onto from up behind next down beside since in between as out around at over across of under near for
Prepositional Phrases • Cross out all of the prepositional phrases to find the subject and verb of a sentence. Mariojumpedinto the pool. Elsaeats ice cream at the shopnext to the salon. The flagwavedat the top of the flagpole. Severalof the professorsgave a final exam early in the morning.
It’s Your Turn! • This concludes the presentation. • If you would like practice exercises on any of the topics discussed in this presentation, please ask one of the Instructional Skills Specialists in the English Lab. • You may now work on your assigned module for the week.